What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Symptoms of COVID-19 may start to appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. The mean incubation period is ~ 5 days but ranges from 2-14 days.
What tests are available?
We have 2 types of diagnostic testing available at Atracare:
Rapid antigen tests ( results ~15 minutes): detects the protein on the outer surface of the COVID-19 virus. They are very specific for the virus but not as sensitive as the molecular tests. This means that a positive result is highly accurate but a negative result does not rule out infection necessarily. The possibility of a false negative result should be considered in the context of a patient’s recent exposures and the presence of clinical signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
RT-PCR molecular tests (results in several days): detects genetic material from the COVID-19 virus and is highly accurate.
COVID-19 IgG/IgM testing: CDC does not currently recommend using antibody testing for diagnosis of acute infection. In certain situations, serologic assays may be used to support clinical assessment of persons who present late in their illnesses when used in conjunction with viral detection tests. In addition, if a person is suspected to have a post-infectious syndrome caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection (e.g., Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children; MIS-C), serologic assays may be used.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Patients can have symptoms and be infectious OR be asymptomatic and still infectious. Symptomatic persons may include those with fever ≥ 100.4°F, shaking chills, severe sore throat, loss of taste or smell, shortness of breath, cough, or muscle aches. Other symptoms including headache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, and others have been identified as potential COVID-19 symptoms and may prompt further screening, action, or investigation. A patient with COVID-19 may be contagious 48-72 hours before starting to experience symptoms.
When to discontinue home isolation? (does not apply to healthcare workers)
The data we have to date shows that a person who has recovered from COVID-19 may still show low levels of the virus in their bodies for up to 3 months after their diagnosis. They may continue to have a positive result even though they may not be spreading the virus. There are NO confirmed reports of reinfection within the first 3 months of the initial infection but research is still ongoing. Thus, if a person who has recovered from COVID-19 has new symptoms, they may be re-infected.
If testing was positive: SYMPTOM based strategy NOT testing based strategy, per CDC recommendations as of September, 2020:
– at least 10 days from symptoms onset
at least 24 hours FEVER FREE with NO fever-reducing medications
-Improvement of symptoms
Delaware Department of Health recommends for patients to continue to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after they last had symptoms.
-10 days after the date of their first positive test if they remain symptom free