Self-testing is one of several risk-reduction strategies to reduce the chances of COVID-19 transmission. They may be used regardless of vaccination or symptom status and may be more convenient than laboratory-based tests and point-of-care tests. Consider keeping self-tests at home or where you may need them.
Consider using a self-test before joining indoor gatherings with others who are not in your household. Self-testing offers fast results.
Testing is critically important to help reduce the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. If you have symptoms or had a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, you should be tested, regardless of your vaccination status. You may also consider self-testing to screen for COVID-19 immediately before an activity to see if you are positive for COVID-19.
What Do Your Test Results Mean?
Positive Self-Test Results
- A positive self-test result means that the test detected the virus, and you are very likely to have an infection and should stay home or isolate for 10 days, wear a mask if you could have contact with others, and avoid indoor gatherings to reduce the risk of spreading disease to someone else.
- You should isolate if you test positive. Testing can reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus when you take more precautions to reduce contact with others and notify those that had close contact with you since 2 days before your symptoms started or your test was performed, whichever comes first. Your close contacts should monitor for symptoms, get tested, and reduce their exposure to others as possible for 10 days.
Negative Self-Test Results
- A negative self-test result means that the test did not detect the virus and you may not have an infection, but it does not rule out infection. Repeating the test within a few days, with at least 24 hours between tests, will increase the confidence that you are not infected.