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A negative test result means that it is unlikely you have COVID-19. Your result may read "negative" or "not detected." Sometimes there are false negatives, which means you have the disease but the test doesn't detect it. If you have a fever, cough, or cold symptoms, you should remain home and minimize contact with others. If you are concerned about your symptoms, call your primary care provider.
If you don’t have a primary care provider, you can still call our Penn Medicine Coronavirus Hotline at 1-833-983-1350. If you are feeling better, you should continue to take precautions and practice social distancing to avoid getting sick. Our advice, whether you test positive or negative, is that you should be without symptoms for 72 hours before ending self-quarantine.
So is, can someone test negative and later test positive on a viral test for COVID-19?
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.
Further, can you get a false negative on a COVID-19 test? False negatives — that is, a test that says you don't have the virus when you actually do have the virus — may occur. The reported rate of false negatives is as low as 2% and as high as 37%.
In short, what does false negative COVID-19 test result mean?
False negatives — that is, a test that says you don't have the virus when you actually do have the virus — may occur.
Do I need to quarantine after testing negative for the coronavirus disease?
You should stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.
This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
Among 178 (12%) adult patients with data on underlying conditions as of Ma, 89.3% had one or more underlying conditions; the most common were hypertension (49.7%), obesity (48.3%), chronic lung disease (34.6%), diabetes mellitus (28.3%), and cardiovascular disease (27.8%). These findings suggest that older adults have elevated rates of COVID-19–associated hospitalization and the majority of persons hospitalized with COVID-19 have underlying medical conditions.