Advice when you or your household members have respiratory infections but are not tested for COVID-19
If you have symptoms of acute respiratory infection, you should stay at home. This also applies if you have mild symptoms such as a cold or a sore throat.
Most people who have symptoms of respiratory infections do not need to be tested for the new coronavirus (COVID-19). Testing should be reserved for vulnerable groups and the healthcare professionals who are treating them.
- If you have respiratory symptoms but do not belong to one of the groups listed under test criteria (below), you do not need to be tested.
- You should stay at home until one day after you become symptom-free.
- While at home, be extra careful about hand hygiene and cough etiquette to avoid infecting others in the household.
Prioritised indications for testing of COVID-19
In a situation where testing capacity is greater than demand, ideally everyone with an acute respiratory infection with fever, cough or breathing difficulties would be tested, according to the WHO's recommendations.
In the current situation, prioritisation is necessary and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health recommends that tests should be carried out for SARS-CoV2 among people with acute respiratory infection with fever, cough or breathing difficulties, in order of priority:
- Patients in need of admission to hospital
- Patients/residents in healthcare institutions
- Employees in the healthcare service with patient contact*
- People over 65 years with an underlying chronic disease**
- People who have been in close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19.
*employees with patient contact can be considered for testing with milder acute respiratory symptoms without other probable cause that have lasted over 2 days.
* underlying chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, cancer and high blood pressure.
Your household members can live as normal and do not need to be in quarantine, but they should pay particular attention to their own symptoms. If they develop symptoms of respiratory infection, they should stay home until one day after being free of symptoms.
This also applies to healthcare professionals.
This means that healthcare professionals can go to work as normal, even though they have household members with respiratory infections who have not been tested for COVID-19.
Why can people with symptoms but who are not tested for coronavirus go back to work after one symptom-free day, while people with confirmed COVID-19 must wait for seven symptom-free days?
It is very important that everyone who has a fever, cold, sore throat or symptoms of respiratory infection stays at home. In Norway, many people have been tested for COVID-19, but so far only about 5 per cent of all tested have confirmed coronavirus. This means that many respiratory infections are caused by something else than coronavirus disease.
Since COVID-19 can cause vague and mild symptoms, and we do not have the capacity to test everyone, we are giving the general advice that this entire group should stay at home until one day after the symptoms are gone.
What we know so far indicates that someone is most contagious early in the course of the disease and quickly becomes less contagious when the symptoms are gone.
Skip to content on this page
SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the virus that is causing the outbreak of COVID-19 disease.
The virus is related to another coronavirus that caused the SARS outbreak in 2002/2003 but is not the same virus.