How Long can you test positive for Covid-19?

COVID-19, or novel coronavirus, has become the biggest threat to our health and lives. This deadly virus is highly contagious, and we have already experienced that in the past three years. However, people still have doubts when they find themselves infected with the COVID-19 virus, such as how long does COVID-19 infection last in our body, how long can one be contagious with novel coronavirus, how much time it takes for COVID symptoms to show, or how long a person can test positive for COVID-19, and many more to count.

All these doubts or worries are quite normal for the people who suffer from the infection, and we understand the anxiety and the nervousness that one can face during this phase of infection. It can be difficult for any to remain in isolation or quarantine with a threat to health or life.

Here are answers to all your doubts regarding COVID-19 infection when exposed to the virus.

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Best time to take the test for COVID-19 after possible exposure:

According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), if anyone encounters a COVID-infected person or probably gets exposed to novel coronavirus’ any variant, they must get themselves tested after five days of exposure or when they develop or notice any symptoms.  

If someone finds COVID infection symptoms, the individual must get into isolation straightaway and get tested as soon as possible. CDC also advises not to break the isolation until the negative test reports declare no symptoms with the novel coronavirus.  

Who and how long must one remain in isolation or quarantine?

 Firstly, people who are not completely vaccinated and believe or are confident that they were in contact with some COVID-infected person must move into isolation or get quarantined.

Furthermore, if individuals test positive for novel coronavirus, they instantly get isolated regardless of the vaccination status.

Most infectious stage of coronavirus in the human body:

  • From the onset of the COVID-19 virus spread, people remain most infectious before a day or two when the symptoms become visible. This infectious stage can last long two-three days after the symptoms occur.
  • An individual becomes most infectious when symptoms could develop between two days and two weeks after the person gets infected, as seen in other variants of novel coronavirus.
  • But it’s different from the new and recently found Omicron variant of COVID-19. It is seen that a person is most infectious between 3 to 5 days of catching an infection.
  • In general, any individual becomes most infectious during the incubation period, which could be between two or three days before and after the symptoms start showing.

How Long can you test positive for Covid-19 after being exposed to the virus?

  • People are most likely to test positive for COVID-19 infection on an at-home rapid COVID-19 test kit for about six to ten days.
  • However, people may test positive for even longer than ten days of getting infected. One can persistently test positive for novel coronavirus even for several weeks and months. Studies observed that positive tests on PCR had been recorded for up to 60 days.

Nevertheless, the number of days testing positive for COVID-19 is different for every individual, depending on many factors.

Most probably, different tests performed for COVID-19 infection performs differently, and the infected patients have a context of such virus that is in constant evolution. Also, many make it difficult to predict exactly how long an individual can test positive for novel coronavirus.

So, if you are in isolation and trying to do your testing at home frequently during COVID-19 infection, you may find positive results for a while. Although, you must consult your doctor or help from experts before self-diagnosis. You can also count on PLUSPIN for any COVID-related expertise.

What can someone do when continuously testing positive for long?

As far as individual testing positive on a rapid test at home, one should still consider himself potentially contagious with the novel coronavirus. But, these at-home tests would not exactly show how contagious a person is.

Whereas results by reliable tests or tests performed under advice will change depending on where and how much the infection is still in an infected person’s body. That’s why during the infection period, a doctor’s consultation is a must.

Also, it would be best if an infected individual continues to remain in isolation until they no longer test positive, as per experts’ suggestions.


However, as per the new guidelines by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), it is not unfair to increasingly leave isolation after 10 days of being infected even if still testing positive on a rapid test. It is especially true for fully vaccinated people, and the developed symptoms have been resolved, and the person is taking precautions until getting the negative test report.

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