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COVID-19 Testing in Kids: Kids Testing Positive, How Long to Quarantine, and More

Your child is having COVID-19 symptoms or was around a COVID-19 positive individual. You have brought them to get tested, but aren’t sure what is next. As pediatric providers, we’re here to help.

We’ll answer all the questions you may have, including:

  • What if my child tests positive for COVID-19?
  • How long do I quarantine my kid after testing positive?
  • When can my kid go back to school after having COVID-19?
  • What if my kid tests negative for COVID-19 but still feels bad?
  • What should my child do if someone in class tests positive for COVID-19? 

NOTE: While awaiting COVID-19 test results, you should quarantine at home until you receive a confirmed negative test result.

What If My Child Tests Positive For COVID-19?

If your child has COVID-19, we advise you to follow the instructions listed below.

  • Isolate at home for a minimum of 10 days whether you have symptoms or not! Isolation means not leaving your home unless there is an emergency to avoid infecting others.
  • People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. You must be symptom-free for at least 3 days before coming out of isolation.
  • Common symptoms of COVID-19 are cough, nasal congestion, fever, headache, sore throat, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of taste or smell. There is no treatment currently for COVID-19.
  • If you were positive for COVID-19 and had no symptoms, you may come out of isolation on day 10.

Other Precautions

This can be very difficult with children and caring for your child should still be your priority.

Re-testing is not required at the end of your isolation time. School and work notes will be provided by Raleigh Group for the patient who tested positive for COVID-19 and close exposures within the family that will need to quarantine at home. Please inform all close contacts of your child’s COVID-19 infection so that they can quarantine at home. In addition to wearing masks and hand washing, vaccination against COVID-19 if you are eligible is the best way to protect yourself and others.

A Negative COVID-19 Test Result

If your child receives a negative test result, we recommend the following:

  • If your child was tested today due to symptoms concerning COVID-19 and it was negative, your child likely does not have COVID-19 and may have another viral infection.
    • NOTE: It is possible to have a false negative COVID-19 test result if your child is tested too soon, which is within 1-3 days of symptoms.
  • If your child was tested for travel or school/work requirements and had no symptoms, they may return without restrictions.

If You Or Your Child Has Had Close Contact With Someone With COVID-19

If you believe you or your child have come into contact with someone who has had COVID-19, please consider the following course of action.

  • If you are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you will need to quarantine for 14 days if you have been in close contact (within 6 feet of someone for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period).
  • People who are fully vaccinated do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. (Please see below on what to do if you have received all doses of the vaccine)
  • Quarantine means you should remain in your home and stay away from other individuals to prevent the possible spread of infection because you have been exposed.

What If I’m Vaccinated?

  • People who are fully vaccinated do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms.
  • It is recommended that fully vaccinated people should get tested for COVID-19 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms. Please wear a mask in public places for 14 days following exposure or until a negative test result is received.

When To Contact Our Emergency Department

You should seek immediate care for difficulty breathing, seizure, no urine production in over 12 hours, or altered mental state. We have someone on call 24/7 to best care for your child! If you are concerned about your child or need further recommendations regarding COVID-19 please call 901-252-6034 to speak with a nurse during normal business hours or contact our After-Hours line at 901-542-2699 outside of normal business hours.

For more information, please visit the CDC website.