Should you get tested for COVID-19 more than once?
If you have previously tested positive for COVID-19 through a PCR test or an antigen test you don’t need to be re-tested for COVID-19 unless a doctor recommends you to take a new test. You don’t have to repeat the sampling during the same period of illness, unless a doctor determines that it is necessary.
Updated: 12/3/2020 9:57:13 AMOpen in new tab
What different types of tests are there?
There are tests that can show if you have a current infection and tests that show if you have already had a COVID-19 infection and have developed antibodies.
PCR-tests and rapid antigen tests show if you have an active COVID-19 infection. The PCR test is used today on a large scale. It detects the virus’s genetic material. An antigen test shows if there are viral proteins in the sample.
Some regions are evaluating the use of antigen tests for specific situations, but they are not used on a large scale. Both of these tests are taken when you are ill with symptoms of COVID-19.
An antibody test shows if a person has previously been infected with COVID-19 and has developed antibodies in response to the virus. An antibody test is taken 2–3 weeks after falling ill. Antibody testing is organised in accordance with regional guidelines.
We recommend that antibody tests be taken by health care providers.
There is a type of antibody self test available. It is taken and analysed by the individual at home. The Public Health Agency advises against using self tests for COVID-19.
Updated: 11/26/2020 9:23:26 AMOpen in new tab
Who should be tested for a current COVID-19 infection?
There are special recommendations for testing for those travelling or who have travelled to Sweden from countries with new variants of the coronavirus.
Testing for COVID-19 is always organised in accordance with regional and local guidelines. The Public Health Agency of Sweden recommends adults and school-aged children (including children in preschool class) with symptoms of COVID-19 to take a PCR test in order to find out if they have a current COVID-19 infection.
We also recommend testing to take place in cases of contact tracing. The test can then be taken even if you don’t have any symptoms of COVID-19.
In a situation where the number of suspected cases exceeds the capacity of healthcare services for testing, the regions can decide on temporary adjustments to the regulations for testing.
Updated: 1/22/2021 5:06:10 PMOpen in new tab
What applies if I get a positive PCR or antigen test result?
A positive PCR test result shows that you have a current COVID-19 infection, or that you recently have had an infection. The same applies to a positive antigen test result. People who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection that has been confirmed with a PCR test or an antigen test are considered to run a very low risk of being re-infected for at least six months.
If you have received a positive PCR or antigen test result, it is important to stay at home and follow the rules of conduct that you will get from your doctor, so that you don’t infect others.
Updated: 12/3/2020 9:55:24 AMOpen in new tab
What applies if I have tested positive for antibodies?
Even if you have received a positive test result, you have to continue to follow the general guidelines to reduce the spread of infection in the community.
Based on the knowledge we have today, we assess that virtually everyone who has developed IgG antibodies has a protection against reinfection with serious symptoms and that the protection lasts at least six months from the time of infection.
Updated: 12/21/2020 9:41:02 AMOpen in new tab
Is it possible to have had COVID-19 but not have antibodies?
Not everyone who has had COVID-19 develops antibodies. There will be some who develop antibodies, while others do not develop antibodies but instead an immune response through the T cells.
Analysing T cell responses to COVID-19 is more complicated than analysing antibodies. For the time being, this is not being done routinely for individuals. A negative antibody test result does not rule out the possibility that a person has had an infection. Even if some people who has had COVID-19 do not develop detectable levels of antibodies in the blood, they have, in most cases, developed some kind of immune response to the virus.
Updated: 11/26/2020 9:30:02 AMOpen in new tab
Can I be around others if I have had COVID-19?
You can be around other people if you have had a COVID-19 infection that has been confirmed by a PCR-test, or if you have a positive test result from an antibody test. This applies regardless of whether you, or the people around you, belong to a risk group. You always have to do your own risk assessment before seeing others. You should continue to follow the general guidelines and take precautionary measures in the community and in the workplace.
Health care staff must continue to follow hygiene routines and routines regarding protective equipment in health care settings.
Updated: 10/1/2020 4:39:45 PMOpen in new tab