The School thanks School Parent and Physician, Lisa Lucas, DO, for this informative feature article on testing during this rise in COVID 19. Thanks to all for reading and following her advice closely in the best interest of our entire community.
L’ecole Francaise du Maine updated its travel guidelines and we ask you all to consider your risk before school resumes on January 4th, 2021. If your family is traveling for the holidays or hosting guests outside of your immediate pod, you will need to choose between a 10-day quarantine or SARS CoV2 PCR testing before your child can return to school.
This PCR test will need to be at least 5 days after possible exposure. Please plan accordingly as testing accommodations can be difficult to arrange and will be in high demand after the holidays.
We are experiencing a surge in Maine. As we move forward and there is more community
spread, we are all at higher risk of coming in contact with a COVID19 + (SARS CoV2 +) person in Maine. Of note, COVID+ persons are likely contagious 48-72 hours before they begin to show symptoms. Please consider our community with decisions regarding testing and school attendance even if you are not traveling out of the state. Here are a few helpful tools when navigating testing and care.
Who needs to quarantine?
● People who have been in close contact with anyone with COVID 19
● What counts as a "close contact"?
○ You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
○ You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
○ You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
○ You shared eating or drinking utensils
○ They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you
● When can I break my quarantine?
○ 10 days since onset of symptoms and
○ 24 hours without a fever and
○ other symptoms of COVID improving
● OR, if asymptomatic, you can be tested on Day 5 after exposure and stop quarantine after Day 7 if negative.
● If you've had COVID19, there is no need to test or quarantine again within 3 months.
When do I need to test?
● When you have a close contact with a COVID19 (+) person
● When you travel and expose yourself to people outside your immediate pod
● When you are having symptoms
Why PCR and not rapid antigen tests? Simply put, not all tests are created equal.
PCR, polymerase chain reaction, is considered the gold standard method. It works by detecting the SARS CoV2 virus’s genetic material (DNA). PCR amplifies the DNA material for improved detection and takes a minimum of 6 hours though results can take up to 7 days.
Antigen tests are faster, usually producing results in 15 minutes similar to a strep or pregnancy test. These tests are detecting antigen, specific proteins on the SARS CoV2 virus, and therefore, best suited in symptomatic patients. Antigen tests are highly specific in that if it is positive, we can rely on that result. There is a higher chance of false negatives. Antibody tests are not appropriate for initial diagnosis.
Where can I get a test in Maine?
● Your physician’s office - If sent directly, turnaround time is 1-2 days
● “Swab and send” - This means this site offers testing without a physician’s order. They will be sent to the state (HETL) lab with a 3-7 day turnaround (varies).
When do I get tested after possible exposure?
● PCR testing should be at least 5 days after exposure.
Ideal time to test between day 5 and 7.
When is an antigen test appropriate?
● When you are symptomatic and you need answers quickly to start isolating and
● Not appropriate screening test after possible exposure