Coronavirus: How long is someone contagious after testing positive?

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — It’s been one month since the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in Florida, which means while more cases are being confirmed every day, others are also recovering.

But how long is someone contagious after testing positive or developing symptoms of the coronavirus?

Channel 9 reporter Lauren Seabrook asked Dr. Raul Pino, with the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, how someone knows they’re in the clear.


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Pino said someone who has been tested needs to have two follow-up negative tests at least 24 hours apart, before they’re safe to be around others again.

Pino said for someone who was not tested, but their doctor told them they likely have coronavirus based on symptoms, they need to go without a fever for at least 72 hours with no medication. And he said they need to wait five days after their first symptom of either fever, cough or chest pain.

That may not seem long enough, but Pino said most people don't show symptoms until five days after they've been infected. So five days after that makes for a total of 10 days.

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Pino said most people recover in about a week.

So far, of the more than 300 COVID-19 cases in Orange County, about 50 people have been hospitalized with the rest recovering at home.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.