TESTING FAQs

Find answers to questions about the COVID-19 testing. Information is provided from the Centers for Disease Control, DHSS Alaska, and other experts.

TESTING FAQs

Find answers to questions about the COVID-19 testing. Information is provided from the Centers for Disease Control, DHSS Alaska, and other experts.

Find a testing location near you:

CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION UPDATE

The following people should get tested for COVID-19:

  • People who have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • People who have come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 should be tested to check for infection:
    • Fully vaccinated people should be tested 5–7 days after their last exposure.
    • People who are not fully vaccinated should get tested immediately when they find out they are a close contact. If their test result is negative, they should get tested again 5–7 days after their last exposure or immediately if symptoms develop.
  • People not fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccine who are prioritized for expanded community screening for COVID-19.
  • People not fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccine who have been asked or referred to get testing by their school, workplace, healthcare provider, statetriballocalexternal icon or territorial health department.

Symptoms of COVID-19:

Anchorage School District Update

Visit here for information regarding Anchorage School District guidelines on returning to school/work for vaccinated and un-vaccinated individuals: Here

FAQs

The following information is the latest from both the Centers for Disease Control and State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

Why get a COVID-19 test?

If you have symptoms or are exposed to someone with COVID-19, getting tested is key in fighting COVID-19. Testing is essential in helping slow the spread of the virus by identifying those who have the virus and enabling treatment or quarantining.

Testing empowers Alaskans to have the information regarding their health and to make informed decisions.
  • People who have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • People who have come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 should be tested to check for infection:
    • Fully vaccinated people should be tested 5–7 days after their last exposure.
    • People who are not fully vaccinated should get tested immediately when they find out they are a close contact. If their test result is negative, they should get tested again 5–7 days after their last exposure or immediately if symptoms develop.
  • Unvaccinated people who have taken part in activities that put them at higher risk for COVID-19 because they cannot physically distance as needed to avoid exposure, such as travel, attending large social or mass gatherings, or being in crowded or poorly-ventilated indoor settings.
  • People who have been asked or referred to get tested by their healthcare provider, or statetriballocalexternal icon, or territorial health department.

CDC recommends that anyone with any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 get tested, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection. If you get tested because you have symptoms or were potentially exposed to the virus, you should stay away from others pending test results and follow the advice of your health care provider or a public health professional.

If you test positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, take the following steps to protect others regardless of your COVID-19 vaccination status: Isolate at home and isolate away from others for at least 10 days.

  • If you do not have any symptoms, you should still isolate at home for at least 10 days.
  • If you develop symptoms, continue to isolate for at least 10 days after symptoms began as long as symptoms have improved, and no fever is present for at least 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medications.
  • Most people have mild COVID-19 illness and can recover at home without medical care.
  • Contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible if you are more likely to get very sick because of being an older adult or having underlying medical conditions or if your symptoms get worse.
Talk to your healthcare provider or local health department to find out how long to isolate if you:
  • Are severely ill with COVID-19 or have a weakened immune system;
  • Had a positive test result followed by a negative result; or
  • Test positive for many weeks after the initial result.

Learn more about what to do if you test positive: Alaska Department of Health and Social Services

If you test negative for the virus that causes COVID-19, the virus was not detected.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19:

  • You may have received a false negative test result and still might have COVID-19. You should isolate away from others.
  • Contact your healthcare provider about your symptoms, especially if they worsen, about follow-up testing, and how long to isolate.

If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19, and  you were exposed to a person with COVID-19:

  • You are likely not infected, but you still may get sick.
  • Self-quarantine at home for 14 days after your exposure.
    • Persons who are fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccine do not need to self-quarantine at home
      • For residents of non-healthcare congregate settings (e.g. correctional and detention facilities, group homes) and employees of residential congregate settings and high-density workplaces (e.g. meat and poultry processing and manufacturing plants), refer to CDC’s recommendations for fully vaccinated people.
  • Contact your local health department regarding options to reduce the length of quarantine. If symptoms develop during home quarantine:
    • Contact your healthcare provider about follow-up testing; and
    • Isolate at home separated away from others.

If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and do not have a known exposure to a person with COVID-19:

  • You do not need to self-quarantine.

COVID-19 tests are available that can test for current infection or past infection.

  • viral test tells you if you have a current infection. Two types of viral tests can be used: nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) and antigen tests.
  • An antibody test (also known as a serology test) might tell you if you had a past infection. Antibody tests should not be used to diagnose a current infection.

Yes, it is possible. You may test negative if the sample was collected early in your infection and test positive later during this illness. You could also be exposed to COVID-19 after the test and get infected then. Even if you test negative, you still should take steps to protect yourself and others. See Testing for Current Infection for more information.

Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer and an emergency room physician, answers some frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine in the following video clips.

Importance of COVID-19 Testing

Traveling & Testing

Alaska COVID-19 Testing

Protecting Our Children Against COVID-19

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