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Additional testing resources

FAQ’s on COVID-19 exposure

Guidelines should you test positive


I have symptoms that I think might be COVID. Do I need a test?
If you have symptoms, you should get tested. Massachusetts has many testing options.

You can also use a home testing kit (often called antigen tests). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has more information about home testing.

What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?
Isolation is for people who have tested positive for COVID-19. Quarantine is for people who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. The CDC has more information.

I have been in close contact with someone who has COVID. What does this mean?
“Close contact” refers to time you spent directly with an infected person. This means you were within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period. The 15 minutes do not need to be at the same time. For example, three separate 5-minute exposures over the course of a day would total a 15-minute exposure. If you were in close contact with an infected person, you should be notified either by the person, by the school, or by the health department, though community contact tracing efforts have recently been reduced.

Guidance around the need for quarantine and testing after an exposure is changing. See the CDC or your state website for the most up to date guidance. Note that most Massachusetts public schools are following the Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidance. However, some schools may have different guidelines. Please call your child’s school to find out what their specific policy is on quarantining if your child has been exposed.

I tested negative after an exposure. What should I do?
If you tested negative with a home test, follow the current guidelines (links above) related to quarantine and other testing. If you develop symptoms, you should test again. If a home antigen test is negative and you have symptoms, public health experts recommend getting a PCR test or testing yourself again with a home test after a few days.

In Massachusetts, unless local health departments have chosen otherwise, schools may allow a child to test and stay in school if they were exposed in school. Please call your child’s school to understand the school’s policy.

I tested positive at home. Do I need to get a PCR test?
If you use a home testing kit and test positive, you have COVID-19. You do not need a PCR test for confirmation. Please start home isolation immediately and notify your close contacts of your positive test. This guidance may change over time depending on how much COVID is in our community. We will let you know if this changes.

I tested positive. I’m worried about my symptoms. What should I do?
Mild Symptoms – Stay Home and isolate
Mild symptoms are a temperature below 100.4 degrees (below 102.4 degrees for children older than 3 months), aches and pains, or a mild cough. If you have these symptoms, stay at home and isolate. Rest, drink plenty of fluids, and monitor your symptoms. Hopefully you will start feeling better within a few days. You do not need to contact your doctor to let them know you have COVID.