For viral, or PCR, testing, it is possible to get a false positive (where you are truly negative but test positive) or false negative (where you are truly positive but test negative) result. The rate of reported false negative results ranges from 2-37% while the false positive rate is only 5%. This means that it is potentially more likely to test negative while actually having the infection (false negative) than to test positive when not having the infection (false positive). For this reason, it is important that you continue taking preventative measures such as wearing a mask and social distancing even if you feel well and test negative. Similarly, it is important to stay home if you feel sick even if you test negative.

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