Director's Corner

What If You Test Positive for COVID?

What If You Test Positive for COVID?

The state of Massachusetts is offering free COVID testing through August 14th. This testing is a valuable tool to help control the spread of the virus.

You shouldn’t panic if your results come back positive. Some people may become ill, but others can remain asymptomatic and never feel the effects of the virus at all.

The most important thing is to take the proper precautions to protect those around you and keep their exposure to a minimum. We encourage you to cooperate with the Community Tracing Collaborative if you are contacted. Your information will remain confidential, but your participation will help to track and contain the virus here in Massachusetts.

At present, the COVID quarantine period is two weeks. Whether you are feeling symptoms or not, you should stay home during this period, monitor your health and follow directions from state and local health officials.

Here are some questions you may be wondering about…

What are antibodies?
If you test positive, your body will begin to develop the specific antibodies to COVID. The immune system recognizes the germ as “non-self” and develops antibodies to fight it. When your immune system next encounters that germ, the new antibodies fight it off. If you develop these antibodies, that also means that you are no longer infectious. Scientists and medical professionals are still trying to determine how long COVID antibodies last. If you aren’t currently sick, but think you might have been previously exposed, you can get an antibody blood test.

What is herd immunity?
Herd immunity (or more accurately “herd protection”) means that when enough people in a society (estimated 70%[1]) have been exposed to a germ and have developed immunity, they will act as a shield. When most of a population is immune to an infectious disease, they provide indirect protection—or “herd immunity”—to those who are not immune to the disease.[2] Herd immunity is more of a buffer zone than a real immunity. People who remain behind the “shield” of the buffer zone are protected from exposure to that germ. We do not yet have herd immunity here in the US, so it is very important that we work to keep each other safe.

What will happen when there is a vaccine?
A vaccine acts on the antibody principle by introducing an inactive infectious agent (germ) into the body. The body’s immune system recognizes the germ as “non-self” and acts accordingly by producing antibodies to fight that germ in the future. There are many COVID vaccines currently in development, but it could be months, if not years, before we have a safe, readily-available vaccine for the public.

If you or someone in your household test positive, reach out to your AFCNS care team with any questions or concerns. We are here to help you through this.

 

 

[1] Anthony Fauci MD, WGBH Radio 6/16/2020

[2] Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, “Covid-19 Expert Insights,” 4/10/2020, G.D’Souza, D. Dowdy,

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