How many times you take an at-home test depends on your result. Positive results from an at-home test are considered highly reliable because these tests are very effective at detecting high amounts of the virus. If you receive a negative test result you should test again 24-48 hours after your initial test–especially if you are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19. Multiple negative at-home tests increase the confidence that you are not infected.
What to do if you have a positive result on an at-home test:
- If your at-home test result is positive, this means the virus was detected and you have an infection. Follow the latest CDC guidance on quarantine and isolation. If you are at an increased risk for severe illness or have worsening symptoms over time, you should consult a health care provider.
What to do if you have a negative result on an at-home test:
- If your at-home test result is negative, this means that the virus was not detected, but this doesn’t rule out an infection. You should test again 24-48 hours after your first at-home test especially if you are continuing to experience symptoms.
If you continue to receive negative at-home results, but have symptoms or are otherwise concerned that you could have COVID-19, consider getting a PCR test, which is the most accurate COVID-19 test available. Pharmacies, health centers, diagnostic labs, and health departments offer PCR testing. Check where such testing is available in your community.
Updated November 17, 2022