COVID isolation period cut short to 5 days: Can you test positive even after 7-10 days of infection? How long before someone is not infectious?

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Experts believe that having a positive result late into one’s infection does not equate to being infectious.

If you continue to test positive for COVID-19 even after your symptoms have resolved and you have completed your isolation period, it could be due to many factors. While a lateral flow test is less sensitive to viral proteins called antigens and therefore is less likely to give a positive result several days post-infection, a PCR test can pick up the presence of even a few viral fragments, given that it is programmed to detect the viral genetic material of the SARs-COV-2 virus.

However, on a positive note, testing positive with a PCR test does not necessarily mean you’re contagious. Research suggests most people will no longer be contagious 5 to 6 days after symptoms appear. As per several studies, people are most infectious between 2 and 3 days before and 8 days after symptom onset.

While PCR tests are extremely accurate in detecting COVID-19, currently, rapid antigen tests, which are said to detect high viral loads, are thought to be more reliable in telling people whether or not they could still be contagious.

Also read: Coronavirus: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Omicron; know what studies say about next

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