COVID-19 Exposure FAQs

Below are some of the FAQs parents have when they learn their child was exposed to someone with COVID-19. The answers are based on the data and medical knowledge we have as of the date of this post. Please call our office with any additional questions.

My child has been exposed to someone with COVID-19, now what?

All individuals who are exposed (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes over a 24 hour period, with or without masks on) must quarantine for 14 days from the last known date of exposure.  For example, your child’s classmate misses school Friday because he is not feeling well then gets seen by his doctor and tests positive on Saturday.  Your child would need to quarantine for 14 days from Thursday – the last day your child was exposed to the COVID-positive classmate.

My child is in quarantine because of a COVID-19 exposure, does she need to be tested?

Yes, your child should be tested.  Many patients with COVID-19 do not have symptoms but can still spread the virus.  Testing your child will tell us if the rest of your family also needs to be tested.  If your child tests positive, all household members will also need to quarantine and be tested.

If my child needs to be tested due to an exposure, when is the best time to get tested for COVID-19?

For symptom-free individuals, we recommend 5-7 days from exposure, as this is the average time it takes to develop symptoms. In the example above (last exposure on a Thursday), your child should be tested on the Tuesday or Wednesday following exposure. If your child develops COVID-19 symptoms prior to 5 days, earlier testing may be considered. Please note: we try to reserve all weekend and Monday appointments for urgent, symptomatic patients. If your child does not have symptoms, you may be asked to wait until Tuesday to come in for testing.

Which COVID-19 test should my child get if they have been exposed?

We recommend the PCR test (also know as the “send-out test”) for all individuals who have been exposed to an individual with COVID-19, especially if your child is symptom-free.  The rapid tests are less reliable for symptom-free patients, resulting in more false negatives (i.e. says you don’t have COVID-19 when you actually do) and, less commonly, false positives (i.e. says you have COVID-19 when you don’t).

My child was exposed to COVID-19.  Her PCR test just came back normal, and she continues to be symptom-free. Can she get out of quarantine early?

No, it can take up to 14 days to develop symptoms from when she was exposed.  So individuals who have a known exposure must quarantine for 14 days whether their test is normal or not.

***as of 12/2/2020, the CDC released “Options to Reduce Quarantine…” guidelines for those who are symptom-free and have been tested, but the first line on these guidelines states, “Local public health authorities determine and establish the quarantine options for their jurisdictions.” As of 12/7/2020, the Virginia Department of Health states, “It is safest to stay home for 14 days after last exposure (or contact). If people are not able to stay home for the full 14 days after exposure and do not have symptoms,  there are 2 options…” At the time of your visit or phone call, we can provide further guidance depending on your child/family’s set of circumstances.

Does the rest of our family have to quarantine if just one of our children was exposed?

If your child’s test is normal and he is symptom-free, the rest of the family does not need to quarantine.

My child was exposed to COVID-19. Her test around day 5 from exposure was normal. She has since developed fever or other possible COVID-19 symptoms.  What should I do?

Please call our office to have your child re-evaluated and retested.