Can A COVID-19 Test Be Negative One Day And Positive The Next?

Can I test Negative and Positive?

Taking COVID-19 tests to see if you carry the virus is one of the best ways to stay safe during the ongoing pandemic. If you are exposed to several people throughout the day for your job, you might consider taking regular COVID-19 tests to make sure you haven’t contracted anything. Currently the CDC recommends waiting 5 days after possible COVID-19 exposure in order to have the best test results. Even then, if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, it is worthwhile to get tested. With all of this in mind, is it possible to test negative for COVID-19 one day, and then test positive the next?


We first need to understand that both an antigen and PCR test look for different types of indicators for COVID-19. Depending on the type of test you took, an antigen or PCR test, you may find yourself in a situation where the test did not accurately produce results. (To read on how often tests can come up as a false negative, click here). Antigen tests are better used to tell if you test positive and are more commonly used when you show symptoms. PCR tests are better used when looking for negative results to make sure there is no longer a trace of the virus. If you take a test and it comes back negative, that means you are currently not carrying the virus or maybe you are in the early stages of infection so it hasn’t made its presence known yet. So is it possible to take a second test and then test positive for COVID-19 the next day? To answer this, yes, you may have already contracted the virus but it hasn’t incubated long enough to show up on tests, or it’s possible you may have even contracted it shortly after taking the first test. In either scenario, if you take a second COVID-19 test the next day, it is possible that the second test will come back with a positive result despite the first one coming back negative.

If you would like to take a COVID-19 test to make sure you don’t test positive, you can visit one of our testing centers found below. You can also test yourself from the comfort of your home with our Certified Teleservice for COVID testing that works with any EUA certified COVID test.

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