Some testing scenarios
For a look at some testing scenarios, WHYY News consulted RapidTests.org, a volunteer group of more than 50 leading infectious-disease physicians, epidemiologists, and scientists from research universities across the world.
I have symptoms of COVID-19. I am isolating, but I don’t want to isolate unnecessarily.
In this situation, a PCR test is recommended, to figure out if the symptoms are due to COVID or something else. In the meantime, continue to isolate and consult a physician if the symptoms persist.
I just found out a close contact tested positive for COVID-19, but I feel totally fine.
If you were maskless around someone who has tested positive, you may have been exposed to the virus. If you’re able to isolate while waiting for results and want to know if you’ve been infected, a PCR test will return the clearest results in a few days.
If you’re unable to isolate and want to know if you are highly contagious today, a rapid test is advised so you can get results as quickly as possible.
I work in a small business. We wear masks and try to stay distant, but we are in a small space, sharing the air all day. I don’t want to accidentally infect my co-workers.
Here, the question is whether you are currently contagious with the virus. A rapid test is recommended here, to get results as quickly as possible and start following current public health guidelines for close contacts.
I’ve been invited to my neighbor’s backyard for a party; I know there will be food, so people will have to remove their masks. I don’t want to infect my neighbors.
Large gatherings are discouraged in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. If you’re in Pennsylvania, for all locations with maximum occupancies under 2,000 people, attendance is capped at 15% occupancy.
If your gathering is in accordance with state guidelines, a rapid test is the best course here to find out if you’re contagious.
I received a vaccine. I know that it might not protect me from getting infected and transmitting the virus to others. I want to do my part to control the pandemic.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the well-known face of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says two people who receive the vaccine can gather together with “extremely low” risk of transmitting the virus.
“You can start getting together as individual people, even though the risk is not zero,” he told CNN last week.
In this case, the question is whether you are currently infected with the virus, so a rapid test is advised. If the test comes back positive, stay home. If negative, you can go about your normal activity, but continue to follow all public health measures.