NKY health officials advising some COVID-19 survivors not to get retested before returning to work

Posted at 2:58 PM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 17:15:35-05

FLORENCE, Ky. — While Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties combined had more than 3,000 contagious cases of COVID-19 as of Monday afternoon, Northern Kentucky also is home to thousands of others who have recovered from the virus and are eager to get back to work or school.

But some have reached out to WCPO 9 to say the proper protocol for returning to work remained unclear going on nine months into the pandemic. Specifically, many are not sure if they need to get tested for the virus again before returning.

The answer is maybe, according to NKY Health Director of Population Health Stephanie Vogel. She said people who have recovered from the coronavirus do not need to submit to another test if they meet some criteria.

Another COVID test is not necessary if the individual:

  • is fever-free for 24 hours without using a fever-reducing medication
  • has symptoms that are improving
  • is 10 days past the first onset of symptoms or, if asymptomatic, 10 days past the positive test (20 days for anyone who is immunocompromised or suffered a severe or critical case of the virus)

Vogel said anyone returning to work or school after having the virus should wear a surgical mask for 14 days or until all symptoms have resolved completely, whichever is longer.

Part of the rationale behind foregoing another test, Vogel said, is that a recovered patient can be symptom-free and considered non-contagious while still yielding a positive test result. That's because the ability to test positive for COVID-19 can outlast one's ability to spread the virus.