Testing for COVID-19 | Colorado COVID-19 Updates

Do you need a test?

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

Anyone with symptoms should get tested as soon as possible, stay away from others, and follow the instructions on how to isolate.

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, wait until at least 5 days have passed since the date you think you were last exposed before getting tested, unless you develop symptoms. Follow the instructions on how to quarantine after exposure to prevent further transmission.  

  • Testing immediately after exposure isn’t helpful because it may be too early in the incubation period and there isn’t enough viral material for the test to detect.

  • Some people may not become ill for up to 14 days. For that reason, people who believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 should monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19, even if they test negative before the full two weeks have passed.

  • Quarantining for a full two weeks is recommended if you have close contact with high risk individuals or live or work in a congregate setting.

  • If you do not develop symptoms, there are options to shorten your quarantine period using a combination of symptom monitoring and testing if you do not have contact with high risk individuals.

  • If your test is positive, begin isolation for 10 days.

If you’d like to receive text messages with information about support available during isolation and/or quarantine, report your symptoms to Colorado COVID Symptom Support tool.

What if I have tested positive before?
  • If you have tested positive more than 90 days ago, you should be retested using the recommendations above for those with and without symptoms.

  • If you have tested positive by PCR within the last 90 days, more than likely you do not need to be retested. In some rare circumstances, such as in individuals with compromised immune systems and in people who have a new exposure to a COVID-19 case and develop new symptoms, retesting within 90 days may be recommended. Please consult with a healthcare provider to determine your need for retesting.

  • If you have tested positive by PCR within the last 90 days, you do not need to quarantine after re-exposure to a COVID-19 case within that 90 day period.

What if I am afraid to get tested because of the impacts on my life or job?

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, it is important for you to know that worker protections are in place to ensure that you can isolate yourself, both for your own health and recovery and for the safety of everyone around you. 
Federal law requires up to two weeks paid leave for those who work for employers with fewer than 500 employees (though some employers with 50 or fewer employees may be exempt). The Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay Rules (“Colorado HELP Rules”) adds coverage for workers as well. Read more in the FAQ.

Additionally, there are many resources available to help you if you need to isolate or quarantine, including help with food and personal financial help.

Where can I get tested?

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, consider a telehealth visit or nurseline advice before seeking in-person care. Ask your primary care provider if they offer telehealth visits, or call one of Colorado’s nurselines.

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