What you should know if you were exposed to COVID-19 during a gathering
During the holiday season, it is natural to want to connect with family and friends. But, with the COVID-19 pandemic worse than ever, we urge families to shelter-in-place and find alternative ways to celebrate, perhaps creating new traditions. Many of the COVID cases in Monterey County are being spread through gatherings such as holiday celebrations, birthday parties, weddings, and funerals. If you think you were exposed or you think you exposed others, please follow the guidance below from our infection prevention medical director, Martha Blum, MD.
What should I do if I went to a gathering and now feel sick with COVID-19 symptoms?
Anyone with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 should seek testing.
- Free testing is available to those with and without symptoms at community testing sites, including at Seaside High School and Monterey Peninsula College.
- If symptoms are severe, then immediate assessment by a doctor and testing through the closest emergency department is appropriate.
- Testing is available for patients of Montage Medical Group primary care offices, if they have symptoms.
- Testing is available at MoGo Urgent Care, if it is determined that testing is appropriate during the course of an evaluation.
Until your test results are back, it is recommended that you quarantine at home and not expose additional people to your illness. If your results are positive, it is important to let all people who you have been in contact with within the last 14 days that you had a positive test.
What if a gathering attendee has symptoms and their test is pending?
If you have been in close contact with someone who was having symptoms, then you should monitor yourself closely for symptoms and take great care to mask and keep a safe social distance from others any time you are outside your home. If symptoms develop, then you should seek testing and follow the guidance above.
What if a gathering attendee tested positive?
If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, then you should quarantine for 14 days and monitor yourself closely for symptoms. Quarantine means to restrict your movement outside of your home except for the most essential activities. You should seek testing when or if symptoms develop. It takes a minimum of 2-3 days, more commonly 5-7 days, after an exposure for a person to become infected and have a positive test. It may take as long as 14 days for infection to develop after an exposure. If you do not have symptoms, testing is not advised immediately after an exposure as your test in unlikely to be positive immediately. It is important to know that a negative test only reflects that moment in time, and it is still possible to become infected at any point between 2-14 days after the exposure. A negative test does not preclude you from having to quarantine for the full 14 days following the exposure.