Time to onset of covid symptoms?


Question from: Ms Jole Pagano | Last updated: January 13, 2022

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The incubation period of the new Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), i.e. the time that passes between exposure to the virus (the moment of infection) and the onset of symptoms, is on average 5-6 days. However, the incubation period can vary – in rare cases – from 2 up to a maximum observed of 14 days.

Table of Contents

How long is the infectious period of a COVID-19 case?

The infectious period is estimated to last from 8 to 10 days in moderate cases and on average up to two weeks in severe cases.

How do people in close contact get infected with the new coronavirus?

People who are in close contact (less than 1 meter) with an infected person can become infected if the droplets enter the mouth, nose or eyes.

What must be done after the COVID-19 quarantine is completed to return to work?

At the end of the quarantine period, if no symptoms have appeared, the person can return to work and the period of absence is covered by the certificate.

If during the quarantine period the person develops symptoms, the Department of Public Health, which deals with health surveillance, will carry out the swab for the search for SARS-CoV-2. In the event of a positive outcome, it will be necessary to wait for clinical recovery and perform a molecular test after at least 3 days without symptoms. If the molecular test is negative, the person will be able to return to work, otherwise the isolation will continue.

Can the new coronavirus infection be contracted from a symptom-free (asymptomatic) case?

Yes, infected people can transmit the virus both when they have symptoms and when they are asymptomatic. That is why it is important that all positive people are identified by tests, isolated and, depending on the severity of their disease, receive medical treatment. Confirmed but asymptomatic people also need to be isolated to limit contact with others. These measures break the chain of transmission of the virus.

That is why it is always important to observe the previously described prevention measures (physical distancing, use of the mask, frequent hand washing).

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When is a person with COVID-19 contagious?

The infectious period may begin a day or two before symptoms appear, but people are likely to be more contagious during the symptomatic period, even if symptoms are mild and very nonspecific. The infectious period is estimated to last from 8 to 10 days in moderate cases and on average up to two weeks in severe cases.

How do the symptoms of COVID-19 vary?

Symptoms of COVID-19 vary based on the severity of the disease, from having no symptoms (being asymptomatic) to having fever, cough, sore throat, weakness, fatigue, and muscle pain.

When can close contacts from a confirmed COVID-19 case return to work?

In general, they can return to the community after a quarantine period of at least 7 or 10 days (depending on the vaccination status) from the last exposure to the case, at the end of which an antigen or molecular test is performed with a negative result.

What are some recommendations for people in home isolation due to COVID-19?

  • The person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection should stay away from other family members, if possible, in a well-ventilated single room and should not receive visits.
  • The carer must be in good health and have no diseases that put him at risk if infected.
  • Family members must stay in other rooms or, if this is not possible, keep a distance of at least 1 meter from the sick person and sleep in a different bed.
  • Caregivers must wear a surgical mask carefully placed on the face when in the same room. If the mask is wet or soiled by secretions, it must be replaced immediately and hands washed after removing it.

Who can I call after contact with COVID-19 positive people?

You can call the free public utility number 1500 of the ministry or the toll-free number of the Italian Red Cross 800.065.510 activated for assistance to frail people. The operators also respond for information on the correct behaviors to be respected and the procedure to follow in case of close contact with positive subjects. The requests include the intervention of doctors for initial telephone assistance and for the activation of hospital structures.

Also contact the toll-free number of your region: Regional toll-free numbers

Can the coronavirus be transmitted from person to person?

Yes, some Coronaviruses can be transmitted from person to person, usually after close contact with an infected patient, for example among family members or in a healthcare setting.

The new Coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 respiratory disease can also be passed from person to person through close contact with a probable or confirmed case.

Who can assist a COVID-19 patient?

The person who cares for the Covid-19 patient must be in good health, have no diseases that put him at risk, wear a surgical mask carefully placed on the face when in the same room as the patient.

What’s the difference between quarantine, active surveillance, and isolation in the case of COVID-19?

Quarantine and isolation are important public health measures implemented to avoid the occurrence of further secondary cases due to transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and to avoid overloading the hospital system.

Quarantine takes place on a healthy person (close contact) who has been exposed to a COVID-19 case, with the aim of monitoring symptoms and ensuring early identification of cases.

Isolation consists of separating people with COVID-19 from healthy people as much as possible in order to prevent the spread of the infection, during the transmissibility period.

Active surveillance is a measure during which the public health worker contacts the person under surveillance on a daily basis for information on health conditions.

How can coronavirus be killed?

The use of simple disinfectants can kill the virus by nullifying its ability to infect people, for example disinfectants containing 75% alcohol (ethanol) or 0.5% chlorine based (bleach).

What should I do if I am a long-term positive case of a COVID-19 Beta variant?

The cases of SARS-CoV-2 identified as cases of VOC Beta variant, suspected or confirmed, both symptomatic and asymptomatic, will be able to interrupt the isolation only after the negative molecular test has occurred.

The end of the isolation / quarantine period may be certified, depending on the organization adopted by the individual Regions, by the Doctor of the Prevention Department or Public Hygiene Service of the ASL competent for the area, by the General Practitioner or by the Pediatrician of free choice.

What are some precautions to follow on a daily basis during the COVID-19 pandemic?

• Avoid the mixed use of bottles and glasses, especially during sports activities.
• Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands.
• Do not take antiviral drugs and antibiotics, unless prescribed by your doctor.

What is the definition of contact in the case of COVID-19?

A COVID-19 case contact is any person exposed to a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19 within a period of time ranging from 48 hours before the onset of symptoms up to 14 days after or until the time of diagnosis and isolation of the case.

Is a quick test enough to make a diagnosis of COVID-19?

Rapid tests are not configured as diagnostic tests, but as screening tests, the preliminary positive result of which must be confirmed with the traditional method on blood sampling.

What is the isolation of a case affected by COVID-19?

Isolation consists of separating people with COVID-19 from healthy people as much as possible in order to prevent the spread of the infection, during the transmissibility period.

Are children also at risk of infection and what is their potential role in transmitting the virus?

Children are often asymptomatic or have mild symptoms of COVID-19 and have a much lower risk than adults of developing severe forms of the disease. However, infection in some cases can lead to the development of complications or peculiar clinical forms. This is why a lot of attention must still be paid when children show symptoms of infection, especially if they are less than one year old and in the presence of pre-existing pathological conditions.
The ability of predominantly asymptomatic children to transmit SARS-CoV-2 compared to adults is not yet known.

To learn more Page Covid-19 – Children

Is COVID-19 comparable to the seasonal flu virus?

No, the viruses that cause both COVID-19 and seasonal flu are passed from person to person and can cause similar symptoms, but the two viruses are very different and do not behave in the same way.

In case of symptoms or doubts about COVID-19 who can I contact?

In case of symptoms or doubts, stay at home, do not go to the emergency room or doctor’s offices but call your family doctor, pediatrician or doctor on the phone. Or call the regional toll-free number.

What does it mean to have antibodies to the new coronavirus?

The examination revealed the presence of antibodies: it means that you have come into contact with the new coronavirus. It is possible that the virus has been defeated, but it is also possible to be infected without experiencing symptoms.

When should a mask be worn during the COVID-19 pandemic?

It is mandatory to always have masks with you. These must be worn:

  • in indoor places other than private homes
  • in healthcare environments according to existing protocols
  • in all means of public transport

Starting from June 28, in the white zone regions, it is no longer mandatory to wear masks in outdoor places, except in contexts in which the conditions for a gathering are created (eg: markets, fairs, queues, etc. …)

Could COVID-19 cause taste and smell problems in certain cases?

Sudden loss of smell (anosmia) or decreased sense of smell (hyposmia), loss of taste (ageusia) or altered taste (dysgeusia) have been recognized as symptoms of COVID-19.


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