Did you recently got a covid test and the result came in? Do the results say “not detect” and you are wondering what does not detected mean on a covid test?

Well here is the answer. If your test results say ” not detected” that means that the viral RNA for covid 19 was not found in the submitted biological sample for testing. 

Explanation to What Does Not Detected Mean on a Covid Test?

A lot of people are confused about what does not detected mean in a covid test. In most cases, indeed, you do not have the virus at the time when you got tested. There are very few chances of you still having the virus. 

  • Chances That You Still Have the Virus:

After your test results came back indicating “not detected” this is very little chance that the results are incorrect. But then what does not detected mean on a covid test? The chances are even less than 5%. But, it could happen that your test came back negative but you do have the infection. 

  • What Does Not Detected Mean on a Covid Test When Your Symptoms Start to Get Worse?

If your symptoms are getting worse you should go to your health care provider as soon as possible. 

  • What Should the People You Live with Do?

If your test came back saying not detected your contacts do not need to isolate themselves or restrict their activities. Although keep in mind to keep yourself safe and secure. 

  • What Should You Do If You Test Negative but Are a Close Contact:

Suppose you are in close contact with someone who is covid 19 positive but your test came back negative. You should still isolate yourself and restrict your activities for 14 days. It should be from the day you last had contact with the positive person. 

The virus can take up to 14 days to show up in the test even if you have been infected. So you could still have the virus if your test was negative. It is safer to go for a second test in this case.
Also, read: How to Get Covid Vaccine.

What Are the Reasons for a False Negative Test? 

The results can come negative when you have the infection in the following rare scenarios:

  • You got the infection very recently. 
  • The test could not detect your viral loads because they are too low. 
  • Your sample for not collected in a proper manner. 
  • Another very rare case is when the stain that you are affected with has mutated. 
  • What if you are having symptoms of covid 19 after your result came back with a “not detected” result? 
  • If you recently did the test and it came back negative but you are now having symptoms of the virus. You should seek help from your health provider and take another test if they recommend so.

When Should You Stop Isolating:

Even if your test comes back negative but you were experiencing the symptoms. You should continue to isolate yourself or at least restrict yourself from contacting other people as much as possible. It could be until you spend at least two days without symptoms. It is because you could have viruses or other infectious diseases like flu etc. 

What Does Reference Range Not Detected Mean on a Covid Test:

The reference range on your test result shows the range of your result compared to that of most healthy people. If your test is not detected you would fall in the normal range.


If your test came back and you are wondering what does not detected mean on a covid test. We have a piece of good news, you do not have the virus. There are some rare exceptions that you should take into consideration even after your test came back negative. Take a second test if required and try to keep yourself and your contacts as safe as possible.