Ask an expert: COVID-19 frequently asked questions

COVID-19 has been in Minnesota for months now and people still have questions.

Minnesota Department of Health Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann answered some frequently asked questions about COVID-19 as the state decides whether or not to slow its reopening.

Here is what you need to know:

Who is a contact of a person testing positive for COVID-19?

Ehresmann: Usually, it’s your household contacts, your household partners. And then it would be identifying situations where you’ve been closer than 6 feet, for longer than 15 minutes with someone.

If I am a contact with a person who tested positive, do I get tested or wait until symptoms start?

Ehresmann: The recommendations have changed over time. If you are a contact of someone testing positive, particularly a household contact, we do recommend those individuals get tested.

When does my 14-day quarantine begin?

Usually in a household, you figure it’s ongoing contact and as soon as you get the news, you say, “OK honey. You are relegated to the basement. We have to stay apart for these number of days.”

How long does a person recovering from COVID-19 test positive and how long are they contagious?

Ehresmann: We’ve had people, whether it’s because they are immunocompromised, or older, or whatever they keep testing positive for weeks. That is obviously distressing, but the data is showing really the period when you are most infectious is right before symptoms and right after they start. The one thing I’d ask if you find yourself in that situation: check in with your health care provider. Check in with someone before you go see someone in a vulnerable state.

Can COVID-19 survivors continue the spread if exposed again?

Ehresmann: There are a lot of things we don’t know as it relates to immunity. So, if you have had COVID, or you had an antibody test, that’s good info to know. But don’t assume you couldn’t spread it to someone else or you have a get out of jail free card. We are still learning a lot.