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Coronavirus Disease: How Long Can You Be Infectious

Coronavirus Disease: How Long Can You Be Infectious

As the pandemic stretches on, the number of recoveries is now rising and so does the number of confirmed cases. One thing that many of us want to know is that for how long people who were infected with the coronavirus can pass it on to others. 

How Long Does It Take To Get Sick?

The incubation period is being exposed to the new virus and the onset of symptoms. For the coronavirus disease, the incubation period ranges from 1 to 14 days. Most people who develop coronavirus disease symptoms do so 4 to 6 days after exposure. 

How Long Are You Infectious?

For coronavirus disease, there is emerging evidence to suggest the infectious period starts 1-3 days before you develop symptoms. 1-3 days before symptoms start is thought to be the most infectious period and in the first 7 days after symptoms show off. Some people remain infectious for an extended period. Commonly reported symptoms usually last around 9-10 days such as fatigue, cough, and fever but it can be longer. 

When Is The Patient No Longer Infectious?

They are no longer infectious if for 3 days they have already no symptoms and they have their first symptoms more than 10 days prior. There are studies that the virus might be noticed for 20 days or longer after the first onset of symptoms. Another study is that the virus is also present in a patient’s fecal samples 5 weeks after the first onset of symptoms

Being Tested Again Before Going Back Into The Community

The state governments have strict criteria about who should be tested for coronavirus disease and when due to a global shortage of coronavirus tests. People who have been self-quarantining can return to their community. These are the people who had contact with a confirmed case of the infection and have completed their 14 days quarantine without developing any symptoms. However, it is recommended that they continue to practice social distancing and good hygiene as a precaution. 

The requirements are different for people who have been diagnosed with the infection;

  • It is not recommended to re-test people who have recovered from the infection and experienced mild illness. If they are no longer infectious, it is considered for them to return to the community and stop self-isolation. This means that they established their initial symptoms more than 10 days prior and have not experienced any symptoms for at least 3 days. 
  • For those who were hospitalized with severe cases, before discharge, the testing requirements are different. They will have two swab tests taken 24 hours apart to check if they have cleared the virus. If both negative, they can be discharged and do not require further self-isolation. 
  • For at least 10 days, they must continue to self-isolate if the tests are positive but are healthy enough to go home. It is when they have not experienced any symptoms for at least 3 days and were discharged from the hospital.