What to do after testing positive with an at-home COVID-19 test

Coronavirus

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Starting Saturday, insurance companies will reimburse you for the cost of buying at-home COVID-19 tests. Then on Wednesday, you can start ordering free at-home coronavirus tests through the federal government.

Doctors say you can rely on those tests to be accurate, but what are the next steps after you test positive?

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and test positive with an at-home test, doctors say you don’t need to get that result confirmed with a test from the lab.

“For young, otherwise healthy people that have been directly exposed to COVID, the best thing is to stay home for five days, avoid being around other people and assume you have COVID,” Dr. Chad Thury, a family physician with Avera Medical Group, said.

Thury says it’s good to then let your primary doctor know about that positive test, especially if you are at high risk.

“So if you’re unvaccinated, older, have medical conditions, than yes it’s good to let them know,” Thury said. “And it’s good to let them know as soon as possible because there is a timeline when it comes to being able to give those treatment options.”

He says you should definitely let your doctor know if your symptoms start becoming severe. Otherwise, follow the CDC guidelines of isolating for five days and then wearing a mask for the five days after that while in public.

“You don’t necessarily need to test again to come out of isolation,” Thury said. “I think there’s some situations in which you would like if you’re going to visit, once again, someone that’s at high risk for complications from COVID. Maybe you’re going to visit a loved one in a nursing home that’s not vaccinated.”

Thury says if your employer is unwilling to accept just a positive at-home test, you can try asking your doctor for a note.

If your at-home test is negative but you’re experiencing symptoms, you should wait a day to take another test or schedule a lab test through your health care provider.

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