6/25/20 | COVID 19 Testing & Control in the Setting of High-Risk COVID-19 Exposures

Testing is an important COVID-19 control measure, but the best measure is to stay home if you are sick!

  • In the setting of a high-risk exposure to COVID-19, testing is performed when symptoms develop.
  • For the individual who remains asymptomatic after a high-risk exposure, we offer testing 8 days after the exposure. Evidence demonstrates that testing before 8 days has a high likelihood of providing a false negative result because the viral load is not yet high enough to convert the test positive.

Furthermore, a test can become positive any time after the 8th day of exposure up to and including the 14th day, so a negative test on the 8th day (or later) during the incubation period in an asymptomatic person does not clear a quarantined person to return to work. We simply offer the test for those who feel they would benefit from it.
Waiting for symptoms to develop is the most effective method of diagnosing COVID-19 because clinical sensitivity of the test is best after the onset of symptoms.

  • If a non-healthcare worker has a high-risk exposure, the individual or family should quarantine for 14 days from the day of the known exposure.
  • If a healthcare worker has a high-risk exposure, the individual should undergo supervised temperature and symptom monitoring for 14 days.
  • Examples of high-risk exposures:
    1. living with a COVID-19 positive person
    2. being exposed, without masks, to a COVID + individual in close contact (within 6 feet) in a closed environment for more than 15 minutes
    3. Risky behaviors including going to bars, restaurants, amusement parks, large family functions (especially when indoor) where social distancing and masking is not observed
  • If you think you need a test call 210 450-8000

Testing after COVID-19 has resolved (10 days after the first symptom and 72 hours symptom free without use of fever reducing medication) is NOT RECOMMENDED. The COVID-19 molecular tests detects RNA fragments, not viable virus and the COVID-19 test may remain positive long after the virus is dead in the human body.

Contact Tracing on-campus

  • UT Health Department of Environmental Health and Safety and the School of Nursing Hotline staff will continue on-campus contact tracing following protocols established by the COVID-19 Infectious Disease Team and the Response team.

Prevention Methods

  • Prevention methods include:
    • MASKING always when engaging with anyone who does not live in your home
    • Social Distancing – standing or sitting at least six feet from others
    • Reduce trips to public places like markets and grocery stores when possible
    • Cleaning hands frequently, including after touching surfaces, and before and after eating
Article Categories: Timely Updates