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COVID-19

Testing for asymptomatic people

You may have seen the CDC guidance stating that if you’ve been in close contact with someone who tested positive with COVID-19 and you’re not experiencing symptoms yourself, that you don’t necessarily need to be tested. Alaska’s current testing guidance won’t change and DHSS continues to recommend testing for all individuals who have been identified as close contacts to individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19.

"We still recommend that asymptomatic people who were in close contact to an infected person get tested during their quarantine period. For people who were put into quarantine promptly after their exposure, we recommend testing during the second week of their 14-day quarantine period.  However, for people who were exposed a week or more before they were put into quarantine, it would be appropriate to get tested right away,” says DHSS Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Joe McLaughlin. “The main problem we want to avoid is asymptomatic people getting tested too early after their exposure to decrease the likelihood of a false-negative test for those who are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.”

Testing asymptomatic people during their quarantine period helps to identify those who are infected with the virus, their need to be in isolation, and the need to notify and quarantine their close contacts.

It is also important that people remain in quarantine for the full 14 days even if they test negative at some point during the quarantine period. A negative test does not shorten quarantine but helps determine who else may have been exposed to the virus.

Lastly, anyone who does develop symptoms of COVID-19 should be tested as soon as possible.