Exposed to COVID? New FDA guidelines suggest 3 at-home tests, even if with no symptoms

ByLeslie Brinkley via KGO logo
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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New suggested COVID testing guidelines from the FDA recommends three at-home tests be administered, even if you don't have symptoms.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As schools get back into session, families will be dealing with the inevitable notifications of potential exposures to COVID and knowing when to test. New suggested guidelines from the FDA are different than what local health departments in California are recommending.

Home test kits, more than ever, are important in the new suggested guidelines issued by the FDA.

RELATED: CDC drops quarantine, social distancing, school screening recommendations for COVID-19

Following a known exposure to someone with COVID-19, even if you have absolutely no symptoms, the FDA is now recommending three home tests be administered:

  • Testing when you find out
  • Waiting several days and testing again on day three
  • Testing again on day five
  • The new calculus from the FDA revealed that two tests catch 60% of asymptomatic cases whereas three tests catch 80%.

    What to do as kids go back to school? Using more home test kits is both expensive and difficult.

    "For some families this might not be feasible, it can be burdensome," said Dr. Dean. Lumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Health. "But it is the best way to prevent those who might have infection to expose others and increase transmission. It is a bit clumsy. It's not as simple as doing one test."

    RELATED: UCSF doctor explains how 'hybrid COVID immunity' could benefit start of new school year

    But the state of California hasn't changed their guidelines for how to respond if you have a COVID exposure and you have no symptoms.

    "We're aligning as we've been with state guidelines. Although we are not specifying the number of times they should test, we are still recommending to test 3-5 days after exposure," said Dr. Meera Sreenivasan, deputy health officer with Contra Costa County Health.

    So ultimately it's up to each family as everyone ventures into unknown COVID territory this fall.

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