Testing positive

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What happens if I test Positive

OptumServe will send you the results of your test via an online portal. If the test results are positive, you also will receive information about how to isolate at home and access medical care. In addition, your case information will be shared with Sonoma County Public Health so they may track the virus and also contact you for help in identifying everyone with whom you had close contact during the time you likely were contagious.

What happens next?

You will need to stay home and isolate yourself using a separate bedroom and your own bathroom, if possible. For specific instructions on how to properly isolate, visit: https://socoemergency.org/emergency/novel-coronavirus/health-orders/home-isolation-instructions/

You cannot go to work if your job requires you to go to an office or other worksetting with other people. You should report this information to your employer immediately and Public Health staff will provide you with a letter that you may use to notify your employer. If your work environment places you near other employees or customers, your employer needs to know to take protective actions. If you do not have any or adequate sick leave or should the illness present other hardships, you may find resources for support here:
https://socoemergency.org/emergency/novel-coronavirus/support-assistance-during-covid-19/

Frequently Asked Questions

Search FAQs


How Long Do I Need to Isolate?

Ending your isolation period depends on specific factors for different situations. Here are the CDC’s recommendations for the following questions and scenarios:

Do I have to get tested?

Your healthcare provider may recommend a test. They will let you know when you can resume being around others based on your test results.

The CDC does not recommend using a test-based strategy for returning to work. Ten days after the symptoms and fever resolve, some people with confirmed COVID-19 will continue to have positive viral tests for several weeks, even though they are otherwise healthy and no longer contagious. This is because you can still have non-contagious dead viruses and viral debris in your system. A symptom-based screening strategy is sufficient to identify when an individual may return to work.

Have you been tested for COVID-19?

Yes. I tested positive for COVID-19 but never developed any symptoms.

If you continue to have no symptoms, you can end your isolation 10 days after your positive viral test for COVID-19.

Yes. I tested positive for COVID-19 and I had symptoms.

You can end your isolation only after you meet these three criteria:

  • 10 days since symptoms first appeared, AND
  • 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, AND
  • COVID-19 symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, chills, etc.) have improved.

No. I had COVID-19 symptoms but was not tested.

You can end your isolation only after you meet these three criteria:

  • 10 days since symptoms first appeared, AND
  • 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, AND
  • COVID-19 symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, chills, etc.) have improved.

No, but I have been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19

Anyone who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19 should stay home for 14 days after their last exposure to that person.

No, but I have recently been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19. However, I had COVID-19 in the past 3 months and have recovered.

If you remain without COVID-19 symptoms (for example, cough, shortness of breath, etc.), you do not need to isolate.

What if I was severely ill or have a weakened immune system?

I was severely ill with COVID-19.

People who are severely ill with COVID-19 might need to stay home longer than 10 days and up to 20 days after symptoms first appeared. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if they recommend a test. Your healthcare provider will let you know if you can resume being around other people based on the results of your testing.

I was ill with COVID-19 and have a severely weakened immune system (immunocompromised) due to a health condition or medication.

Persons who are severely immunocompromised may require testing to determine when they can be around others. They might need to stay home longer than 10 days, and up to 20 days after symptoms first appeared. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if they recommend a test. Your healthcare provider will let you know if you can resume being around other people based on the results of your testing.

See CDC website for additional details.

If you test positive and do not have severe symptoms you should stay at home and isolate. An isolated person should remain in one bedroom and use only one bathroom, if possible. If you cannot isolate safely at home for any reason, the County has a place where you can stay during your isolation, free of charge. The County of Sonoma has partnered with Sonoma State University to operate an Alternate Care Site (ACS). This is a safe, comfortable place that is open to any person in Sonoma County who needs a place to stay to avoid infecting other household members. If you are interested in finding out more about the ACS and whether it is a fit for you, please contact your healthcare provider or call 2-1-1. People who are not able to keep isolated from others in their home, especially those who live with vulnerable people (adults 65 and older, people with underlying health conditions, etc.), may wish to stay at the ACS. Lodging, meals, and Wi-Fi are provided free of charge.

Contact tracing is an important way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. County Public Health staff help individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 to identify everyone with whom they had close contact during the time they may have been contagious.

Public health staff then notify “contacts” about their potential exposure to someone with COVID-19 while not sharing the identity of the person who may have exposed them to the virus. During the initial phone call, contacts receive information about COVID-19 symptoms and a referral for free testing. All identified and confirmed contacts are instructed to self-quarantine to prevent further spread of disease. While quarantined, the contact may receive a daily phone call from Public Health staff to ask if the contact is experiencing any symptoms.

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