A positive test for coronavirus is dependent on which test has been taken and which the positive response is in relation to.

For example, if a PCR (swab) test for the virus has been undertaken and a result shows as positive, then the patient has an active infection. The infectious patient should not return to work but follow the self-isolation, social distancing and hygiene guidance provided by their home country.

A positive antibody test for the antibody IgM is produced at the onset of infection. Therefore, as above this patient is probably infectious and should take the necessary actions of self-isolation, social distancing and hygiene guidance as provided by their home country. The degree of accuracy of this level of test has a variation and hence it cannot confirm a COVID-19 infection but when reviewed along with infection contact data can provide a probability of active infection.

Finally, a positive antibody test to the antibody IgG is made after the infection, and probably indicates the patient is no longer infectious but, has previously had contact with the virus. When this is considered with the personal history of the infection it can determine a probability of having a previous infection. This person may work but should maintain the guidance relating to social distancing and hygiene issued by the home country.

It is important to remember that the levels of protective antibodies and the duration of the protection against the coronavirus are unknown. In health and social care situations, it may be appropriate to have regular checking of antibody levels and this will be advised by occupational health.

Thank you for reading our blog ‘Can I go to Work if I Have Positive Test for Coronavirus?’. Nomad clinics can offer a range of testing service that can involve the issue of a test certificate of the results, if required for work or travel. Click here for more information.

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