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What do to after COVID-19? Guidelines for returning to work

Do you need more tests to clear you? Exactly what are the next steps for COVID-19 patients?

HOUSTON — Some 98 percent of people who get COVID-19 will recover. So once you or a loved one feels better, then what? 

Do you need more tests to clear you? Exactly what are the next steps for COVID-19 patients?

In a perfect world, anyone who's had COVID-19 should be tested again.

“CDC recommends once you’re symptom free that you take two tests at least a day apart to verify you are virus negative,” Dr. Joseph Petrosino said.

At Baylor College of Medicine, Petrosino chairs its molecular virology department.

There are 30-minute rapid tests, but he recommends the nasal swabs sent to labs which can take a few days to get your results.

“You want the QPRC test, you want the nasal Firingal swab test,” he said. “Antibody tests are not recommended at this time.”

Bottom line, scientists just don't know if having antibodies will keep you from getting COVID-19 again, so what if it's tough to get a test or you've been symptom free for at least three days?

“But the tests still show they are positive?” Chow asked.

“That's an interesting phenomenon and we're still trying to figure out what that means,” Petrosino said.

Right now, experts believe it means you're not contagious so the CDC, businesses and health care settings say even without a test.

“If you a symptom free for three days after quarantine time you are safe to return back to work,” he said.

In addition to masks, Petrosino believes secure cell phone contact tracing apps are key.

“You would recommend it?” Chow asked.

“As we've seen elsewhere, there is nothing more effective than reducing spread of disease,” he said. “Last time I checked, Taiwan had seven COVID deaths.”

It’s amazing in South Korea.

“Contact tracing shut down some really spectacularly dangerous events,” he said. “They did one person who went to 10 2-0 clubs in a night. Contact tracing shut down the spread of the disease right there.” 

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