If you’ve had significant exposure to a person with COVID-19 but still test negative should you go back to work before your 14-day quarantine ends? Health experts say no.

Ochsner Infectious Disease specialist Dr. Sandra Kemmerly says if you get exposed and immediately seek a COVID test the answer may not be helpful.

“If I get tested today or tomorrow, and even maybe for days from now, the probability is that I will test negative,” says Kemmerly.

Significant exposure is having contact with a COVID positive person within six feet for longer than 15 minutes.

Kemmerly says that’s because the virus can take days, or even over a week to build up in your system enough to actually be detected by current tests.

“The virus needs time to enter the nasal passages, replicate, and have enough virus presence to be detected,” says Kemmerly.

And on the topic of testing for COVID, the recent increase in demand for testing as cases surge in Louisiana has Ochsner announcing they are directing non-symptomatic patients to community testing sites where people can be tested regardless of symtoms, and only testing sytmomatic people in emergency rooms and urgent cares.

For information on those community testing sites visit https://www.ochsner.org/testing.

(Story written by Matt Doyle/Louisiana Radio Network)