What do Self-Test Results mean?

What should I do after I get the results of my self-test?


What does a positive COVID-19 self-test result mean?

If your self-test result is positive, you should isolate and inform your healthcare provider, as well as those you've been in close contact with. You do not need to get another test through a doctor or pharmacy.

  • A positive self-test result means the test has detected the virus, and you're likely to have COVID-19
  • Stay home, or isolate for five days, even if you are asymptomatic or your symptoms seem to be resolving
  • Wear a mask if you have to be in contact with others
  • Avoid all forms of indoor gatherings to reduce the risk of spreading disease to someone else


What does a negative COVID-19 self-test mean?

If your self-test is negative, the test did not detect the virus and you may not be infected with COVID-19, but it does not entirely rule out infection. You should repeat the test within a few days, with at least 24 hours between tests, to increase the likelihood that you're not infected. (This is why each kit comes with two tests.) If you feel you might be sick, regardless of a negative test result, you should stay home.


What does an inconclusive or invalid COVID-19 self-test mean?

If your self-test is inconclusive, you should use the second test provided and test again. If both tests are inconclusive, then consider getting tested through your health care provider, a pharmacy, or at a community testing site.


Do I need to report my COVID-19 test result to the state or local health authorities?

No, you don't have to report your test result to public health authorities, but you should inform your close contacts (people you've recently spent time with) that you do have COVID-19. This way they will know to get tested and protect others. In addition, if a child who attends daycare or school tests positive, you should let the institution know.


For more information on self-test kits, please visit the CDC website at: Self-Testing | CDC