When Should You Consider Getting Tested for COVID-19?

Jul 21, 2022
When Should You Consider Getting Tested for COVID-19?
Whether you’ve been vaccinated or not, you may need to test for a COVID-19 infection to keep yourself and your family healthy. When do you need a test? How often should you test? And where do you get tested? The answers are here.

No matter how much you (and everyone else) wishes the pandemic were over, it’s still here. Unlike the beginning of the pandemic, however, we now have access to vaccines and more accurate tests.

But as we learn more about the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 infection, and as more effective therapies and tests are developed, guidelines change too. So when do you need to get tested? And how do you get a test?

At House Call Doctors of Pacific Northwest PLLC, our team of experts — including Bernadette Kimemia, DNP, ARNP, FNP-C, and Phyllis Muthee, NP, ARNP — administer COVID-19 tests and vaccines at our Snohomish and Everett, Washington, offices. Here’s what you need to know about how and when to get tested.

You were exposed to COVID-19

You just found out that someone you were around has a confirmed case of COVID-19. You should be tested to determine if you’re infected too. If you’re infected, you could become ill or make somebody else ill. 

Testing saves lives. However, when you get tested depends on your vaccination status.

You’re fully vaccinated

You’re considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose in a two-dose protocol or two weeks after your only dose in a single-dose protocol. If you’re fully vaccinated, you should get tested 3-5 days after exposure. Wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until you receive a negative test result.

You haven’t been fully vaccinated

If you haven’t been fully vaccinated, you should quarantine. If you have symptoms, get tested immediately. If you don’t have symptoms, wait for five days and then get tested (but stay quarantined until your test). 

While you’re waiting for your results, continue to quarantine. Isolate yourself from other household members and wear a mask inside to avoid spreading the virus. 

If the results of your test are negative, you should test again 5-7 days after the last exposure. Or, if you develop symptoms during your quarantine, get another test immediately.

You have symptoms of COVID-19

If you develop any symptoms of COVID-19 — even if you don’t know whether you were exposed to someone with a confirmed infection — you should be tested. Of course, if you know you were exposed to a confirmed case, it’s especially important to get a test.

Symptoms of COVID-19 vary from individual to individual. If you’ve been vaccinated, your symptoms could be so mild you might mistake them for a common cold. Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever above 100.4℉ 
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you’re not feeling well, it’s best to get tested as soon as possible so you know whether to quarantine. 

You’re going on or coming back from a trip

You may need to get tested for COVID-19 if you’re traveling to another country or re-entering the United States, depending on where your travels took you. Be sure to schedule your test in a timely manner. We sign any paperwork you might need for your travels.

You need to be screened for school or an event

If you’re attending a large event or your kids are going back to school, you may need to present results from a recent negative COVID-19 test. We can test you or your kids.

We also provide vaccines

If you haven’t been vaccinated, or if your kids are now eligible for a vaccine, call us for an appointment. A vaccine reduces your chances of becoming infected with the virus. If you’re exposed to COVID-19, your symptoms would be milder than if you were unvaccinated. 

Vaccination also reduces the chances that you’d infect someone else, potentially saving lives.

To schedule your COVID-19 test or vaccine, contact our friendly team today by phone or online form.