If you've been exposed to the coronavirus, here's how long to wait before getting tested

Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / A worker talks to a patient after taking a sample at the Alstom COVID-19 testing site on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Q: If I find out I've been exposed to someone with COVID-19, should I get tested? If so, when?

A: Those are two good questions. The first one is easy: yes! The second one is harder to answer.

To elaborate on the first question, people are put into quarantine after exposure because of their risk of contracting and then spreading the virus themselves. It can take as long as 14 days for the virus to become detectable, so that explains the length of the standard quarantine period. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the people who should get tested are:

* People who have symptoms of COVID-19.

* People who have had close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19.

* People who have been asked or referred to get testing by their health-care provider, local or state health department (usually due to being in a public place where someone who was infected was known to be present).