Does a negative antigen test mean I am free of Covid-19? Advice from Dr. Holohan and experts

The government has issued a stern warning to Covid about the proper use of antigen tests.

More people are using rapid tests now that they are widely available in stores across the country.

But medical vice president Ronan Glenn says a negative antigen test is not a «green light» for anyone with symptoms of Covid.

In a message on Twitter, he said: «It is essential that no one with symptoms interpret a negative antigen test as meaning they do not have Covid-19.

“You should not use an antigen test if you have any symptoms of the virus. Instead, you should isolate yourself and arrange a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

“You must assume you have Covid until you get a negative PCR test result and have your movement restricted for 48 hours after your symptoms resolve.

“You should only consider using an antigen test as an additional tool to fight Covid-19 if you do not have symptoms of the disease.

Lauretta Maroni, Duty Manager at LIDL, Aungier Street, Dublin with Rapid SARS CoV-2 Antigen Test Card available for purchase in LIDL stores

“If you have been vaccinated and have no symptoms but close contact of a confirmed case has been identified, you should use 3 antigen tests over a period of 5 days.”

Glenn also cautioned that people who still engage in ‘high-risk activities’ such as going to bars, clubs, cinemas and multiple house parties should use antigen tests twice a week as an additional measure along with current Covid-19 guidelines.

Mr Glenn added: «If your antigen test returns a positive result, you should immediately isolate yourself and arrange a PCR test.

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“If you have a negative result, you still have to keep up with all the other precautions.

«This is because antigen tests may not detect the virus even if you have it.»

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