Blog: Not Positive We're Positive

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Not Positive We're Positive - Wednesday, December 7, 2022
I mentioned at the end of my previous post that Priscilla and I came down with cold symptoms on our return from our Thanksgiving trip to LA. We took a home COVID test the day after we started showing definitive symptoms, and we both tested negative. Since then, the symptoms have progressed from a head cold to a chest cold, but have remained mostly mild. So we were surprised when we took the COVID test again this past Monday and got a positive result.

We haven't had any symptoms specific to COVID like shortness of breath, muscle fatigue, or loss of taste or smell. It just feels like the colds I've had in the past, which makes me wonder if some of those in the past couple years could've actually been COVID, though I did test during those times and always tested negative. The instructions for this test on the FDA website mention that the false positive rate was 5.7% in a study done with 139 participants where 35 subjects got a positive test result, though this seems like a pretty low sample size. I've seen other articles claiming that other studies of rapid antigen tests have up to a 42% false positive rate. And multiple false positives are supposedly more likely from the same batch of tests.

So are we actually positive? Who knows. It's probable that we have it, but it doesn't really feel like we do. But I think this pandemic has taught us that the presence or absence of symptoms is not a reliable indicator. In the meantime, we continue to quarantine and we just used Instacart for the first time to buy groceries from Sprouts. And we have PCR tests scheduled for Friday, courtesy of the county health department. It's awesome that they're still providing this service. And fortunately, it seems like the people we spent time with in LA haven't gotten sick.

At any rate, the recovery will probably have a long tail. I'm mostly recovered; I've just had a minor sore throat and congestion for the past couple days that seems like it's dragging out. And Priscilla has a runny nose and a persistent cough. The last time she had a cough like this, it took her two months to get over it. Fun times ahead.