Health experts: Wait 8 days after COVID-19 exposure to get tested if asymptomatic

Symptomatic people who were exposed should get tested right away

COVID-19 antibody testing and diagnostic testing are administered at a converted vehicle inspection station, Tuesday, July 7, 2020, in San Antonio. Local officials across Texas say their hospitals are becoming increasingly stretched and are in danger of becoming overrun as cases of the coronavirus surge. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Eric Gay, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – Health experts in San Antonio are advising people to wait for more than a week to get tested for COVID-19 if they believe they were exposed to the virus but are not feeling the effects.

UT Health San Antonio states if people have been exposed, but aren’t showing symptoms, then they should quarantine immediately but wait eight days for a test.

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Dr. Jan Patterson, professor of medicine and infectious disease at UT Health, said it takes that long for the virus to incubate enough to be detected by a test.

“The problem with that is that just in one or two days, you’re not going have enough coronavirus in your nose or your throat to be able to detect it,” Patterson said.

UT Health San Antonio experts offer new COVID-19 testing advice

Before those eight days, there’s a 60-70% chance of a negative result, she said.

For those people who have been exposed and are developing symptoms, they should seek testing right away.

According to UT Health, a person is considered exposed to the virus if they have been within six feet of a COVID-19-positive patient for more than 15 minutes of continual contact or conversation.

Metro Health states after exposure, people should quarantine for 14 days and stay separated from people in their household even if they’re not showing symptoms.

UT Health officials do not advise people to go to an emergency room for a COVID-19 test.

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About the Author:

Rebecca Salinas has worked in digital news for more than 10 years and joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.