If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who tested positive, it’s important to get tested. You may also need a test after high-risk activities such as travel or attending a large gathering or be referred to get testing by a healthcare provider, local, or state health department.
The incubation period (the time between exposure to the virus and symptom onset) is generally 5-6 days but can take up to 14 days. For this reason, you should self-quarantine and wait at least five days before getting tested. The virus may not be detectable in your system in the early stages. If you have COVID-19 and got tested too soon, your result could come back negative, even though you have been infected.