People who are no longer contagious could still test positive for COVID-19 | KOB 4

People who are no longer contagious could still test positive for COVID-19

Brittany Costello
Updated: July 29, 2020 06:21 PM
Created: July 29, 2020 05:07 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- COVID-19 appears to be impacting people differently.

Some people are asymptomatic while others have experienced mild symptoms. The virus has also forced hospitalizations and led to people's death.


For those who catch the virus, one of the biggest concerns is when they are no longer contagious.

"The way you should think about it is you need to fulfill three criteria: ten days after the onset of symptoms, you haven't had a fever in 24 hours without taking any medication, and that your other systems are improving," said Dr. Steven Bradfute, assistant professor in the Center for Global Health at the UNM Health Sciences Center.

Dr. Bradfute said CDC guidelines are changing. Most patients with a mild or moderate case of COVID-19 will no longer be contagious after 10 days of symptom onset, or to be safe, ten days after they positive test.
"Some of the information that we had earlier on for this outbreak, some of it is based on the other viruses and so sometimes the information changes the more you find out about a particular virus because they're not all the same," he said.

Some places of employment are requiring people to get a negative COVID test result.

However, new research is showing that the negative test may not come right away.

According to the CDC, those who've recovered from the virus can continue to shed detectable traces of it for up to three months after initial symptoms.
"The test looks for genetic material of the virus, but it doesn't tell you whether or not that virus is infectious, or alive, for the lack of a better term," said Dr. Bradfute. "So there are some people that get sick, they get over the infection, they feel perfectly fine, but they still test positive for weeks or months afterwards."

The 10-day rule may also not apply to those that have been hospitalized or have more serious cases.

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