Why A Negative COVID Test Isn’t A Pass To Do Whatever You Want

Advice from Skeena Strong’s event ‘Fighting COVID In The Skeena.’

Photo credit: @photovs via Twenty20

You might think that if you get tested for COVID and receive a negative result then that means you can do whatever you want. But that’s the same thinking that resulted in U.S. President Donald Trump and many others catching the disease.  

So why doesn’t a negative test result mean you’re in the clear? 

That was one of the questions answered during Skeena Strong’s latest edition of “Fighting COVID In The Skeena,” a live Facebook event featuring Dr. Tara Moriarty, one of Canada’s foremost infectious disease experts.

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“Let’s say you were in a crowded indoor space, like at a party or wedding or maybe inside in a restaurant and someone there has COVID,” Dr. Moriarty said. “The other people in the room might not actually develop symptoms of COVID right away. Typically it takes about four days on average.”

But she said other people might not feel sick for two weeks. “Which is why we have a two week quarantine or isolation period,” she said.

So let’s say you get tested for COVID the day after you were in the crowded indoor space. There’s a chance that you will receive a negative result “because you haven’t developed enough of the virus yet for it to be detected,” she said. 

That’s why Dr. Moriarty and many other health experts say that you should wear and a mask and practice social distancing even if a COVID test suggests you don’t have the disease. “People should be careful about that and not use those tests as a passport kind of to then go and live however they want, because that’s a dangerous way of thinking about them,” she said.

After all, we’ve seen what happened in the Trump White House when people followed that logic.

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Written by Skeena Strong

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