Testing may be utilized in a variety of situations such as: 

  • If you have COVID-19 symptoms 
  • If you have been exposed or potentially exposed to an individual with COVID-19. 
  • Before and after gathering indoors with others. 
  • Before travel or high-risk activities like attending large gatherings or participating in contact sports 
  • 5 days after travel or high-risk activities 

Testing can give you information about the risk of spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. This is especially important when in contact with unvaccinated children, older individuals, those who are immunocompromised, or individuals at risk of severe disease. 

A positive test result indicates that you likely have a current infection, and you should isolate and inform close contacts. 

A negative test result indicates that you may not be infected and may be at low risk of spreading disease to others, but it does not rule out an infection. Performing serial tests, meaning two or more tests over several days with at least 24 hours between tests improves the reliability of testing and reduces your risk of transmitting disease to others even further. Some self-tests require this type of repeat testing in the manufacturer’s instructions.