How long are you contagious with COVID? – NBC Chicago

Anyone who contracts COVID-19 is advised to self-isolate for at least five days, but could you be contagious even after that?

It’s a possibility, according to Chicago’s top doctor.

People are likely most contagious during the first five days after contracting the virus, health officials say, hence why isolation is recommended.

As a precaution, those who test positive are encouraged to wear a properly fitted face mask until day 10, although the risk has decreased by this point.

Once day 10 arrives, the risk drops significantly, including for those with persistent symptoms, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady previously said.

“If you are generally feeling well, especially if what lingers is a cough or a bit of a cough tends to be the last thing to go after a virus, you are unlikely to continue spreading the disease,” the doctor said. said.

If after 5 days you have been fever-free for 24 hours without taking medication and your symptoms improve or you have never had symptoms, you can end the isolation.

If you still test positive after six to 10 days, Arwady said you could still be contagious.

“Generally, if their symptoms are gone, it’s very unlikely they’ll spread much more COVID. But if you still have a positive rapid test, be sure to wear a mask, consider self-isolating,” Arwady said. .

She clarified that the positive test applies more to rapid results, as opposed to PCR. COVID PCR tests can remain positive for “a very long time” after recovering from the virus as they detect any dead infection.

Explaining that most Americans have some level of immunity, the CDC released major changes to its COVID guidelines on Thursday, changing recommendations for quarantine, social distancing and even testing.

The changes, which come more than 2.5 years into the pandemic, are driven by the recognition that approximately 95% of Americans 16 and older have acquired some level of immunity, either by being vaccinated or by being infected, according to agency officials. said.

Those infected with mild to moderate COVID-19 are unlikely to remain infectious for longer than 10 days after symptoms begin. People with severe to critical illness resulting from COVID infection are unlikely to be contagious 20 days after symptoms start.

NBC Chicago

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