When to Consider Self-Testing
Self-tests may be used if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact or potentially in close contact with an individual with COVID-19.
Even if you don’t have symptoms and have not been in close contact with an individual with COVID-19, using a self-test before gathering indoors with others can give you information about the risk of spreading COVID-19. This is especially important before gathering with individuals at risk of severe disease, older individuals, those who are immunocompromised, or unvaccinated people, including children who cannot get vaccinated yet.
Specifically, the best timing when using a self-test is:
- If you have COVID-19 symptoms, use a self-test immediately
- If you were a close contact of someone with COVID-19, self-test after at least 5 days, plus a second test in 1 or 2 days if your first test is negative
- If you are testing before a gathering, test immediately before the gathering (or as close in time to the event as possible)