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What does my Covid-19 PCR test Result Mean?

What does my Covid-19 PCR test Result Mean?


This means that the presence of SARS-Cov-2 virus target genes fragments were present on the sample received by the Laboratory.

My test was positive, but I feel fine.

A positive test, even in the absence of symptoms, is still a reason to stay home. Researchers estimate that a serious portion of people who catch COVID-19 are entirely asymptomatic.
Just because you are not coughing does not mean you will not infect someone else. In fact, one study found that pre-symptomatic transmission – that is, infecting a person before you yourself even start to feel sick – is a significant source of spread for the virus.
While it is impossible to know just how many people have had COVID-19 and what percentage were asymptomatic, it did not stop the tiny country of Iceland from trying. Last year, they implemented a broad testing strategy for random individuals and estimated, based on their findings, that about 50% of cases are asymptomatic.
With that picture in mind, you can imagine just how important it is to get tested and just how important it is to stay home if you have tested positive. The current recommendation is Self-Isolation for at least 10 days after your first positive test.
The symptoms of COVID-19 typically appear within 5 to 14 days after initial exposure to the virus.
Some people show few to no signs of illness during the early phase of infection but can still transmit the virus to others.
In mild cases, home care and self-quarantine measures may be all that is needed to fully recover and keep the virus from spreading to others. But some cases call for more complex medical interventions.
Personnel who are asymptomatic for 10 days following a positive test can be considered non-infectious.


You tested negative but you have symptoms.

A negative test usually means you do not have a COVID-19 infection. However, it is still possible that you may be infected, but are too early in the course of your illness to test positive. Therefore, you should still follow recommended isolation precautions as for those who are positive for COVID-19. Molecular assays results are subject to viral load dynamics over time.

You tested negative and do not have symptoms.

A negative test means you were probably not infected at the time your sample was collected. However, it is possible that you could be infected with SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, but with levels too low to be detected by the test or you are too early in the course of your infection for a positive test. It is possible to be infected and infectious to others without having symptoms of the virus. Therefore, a negative test does not mean that you do not have or that you will not get the virus. You should still take precautions to protect yourself and others including following social distancing, hand hygiene, and cough etiquette guidelines.

• If you have a known exposure to a COVID-19 case: You should continue to monitor your symptoms for 10 days after your last known exposure and pursue additional testing if symptoms develop.
• If you do NOT have a known exposure to a COVID-19 case: You should still take precautions to protect yourself and others including following social distancing, hand hygiene, and cough etiquette guidelines and pursue additional testing if symptoms develop.


You went through all the trouble of getting a COVID-19 test and you were expecting a clear answer, but unfortunately, it is not always that simple. If you recently had an undetermined test result, you may be wondering what it means and what you should do next.

Why are some tests undetermined?
There are a few things that can make a COVID-19 test come back undetermined. Sometimes, the sample was not collected properly. Inconclusive results are not always the result of a sample error.
Samples that are obtained either at exceedingly early stages of infection, during late recovery phases or at low-levels, some of the viral targets in the COVID-19 test will not fulfil the threshold necessary for a positive readout. In those cases, an undetermined result is issued because the test cannot confidently determine whether the sample was positive or negative for the coronavirus. This is not a laboratory error.

What should I do if my COVID-19 test was undetermined?
Treat an inconclusive test result as a presumptive positive until repeat testing.
The result should be read as an indication that the viral load in the sample collected was not sufficient for a definitive conclusion about the patient’s infection status.

In fact, someone with COVID-19 might have an inconclusive test if they were tested very early in their infection—a time at which they might be most contagious.

Recent research demonstrated a 14 % false negative rate for inconclusive results. That means that 86 % of inconclusive results are most likely Positive (Am J Clin Pathol 2020; XX 1-5)

That is why if you received an inconclusive test result, the first thing you should do is isolate. Inconclusive does not mean you do not have COVID-19, and if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or if you have been exposed to a person who has tested positive, your best bet is to stay home to avoid further spread of the virus.

Next, consult with a healthcare provider about whether you need an additional test.