New COVID variants and a rise in cases: The latest on symptoms and at-home tests – UC Davis Health

Subscribe to our blog and receive notifications of new stories by email.
COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, the director of the CDC reminded people that the U.S. is seeing about one-quarter of the hospitalizations in August 2023 compared to August 2022.
Stronger immunity, COVID vaccines, tests and effective treatments are helping keep people out of the hospital. Still, this uptick in COVID-19 cases is a good reminder to follow CDC recommendations, wash your hands and stay away from sick people. And if you’re sick, stay home to avoid spreading it to others.
Here’s a reminder of the COVID symptoms and how to do an at-home test if you start feeling sick.
No, the symptoms are the same, even with new COVID variants like Eris (EG.5) and omicron BA.2.86. You should look for the following COVID symptoms:
These symptoms may be a sign of COVID infection, but these also could mean you have a different illness. Call your primary care provider if you have questions or think you were in contact with someone who had COVID. You can also take an at-home COVID-19 test to help find out if you have the virus.
Learn more about COVID-19 symptoms

Read more about BA.2.86 and EG.5: How will the new COVID-19 boosters work with new variants?
COVID-19 symptoms appear about 2-14 days after exposure to the virus, according to the CDC.
People who test positive for COVID-19 typically have symptoms for a couple weeks. People who have long COVID (also known as long-haulers) can have persistent symptoms that last at least 12 weeks after infection.
COVID symptoms that are considered more severe, according to the CDC, include:
This is not a complete list of severe symptoms. If you have COVID symptoms that are concerning, call your health care provider.
The list of symptoms for people with long COVID can vary. For some people, long COVID can last at least 12 weeks after symptoms first appeared. Here is a list of the most common long COVID symptoms:
Learn about UC Davis Health’s Post-COVID-19 Clinic in Sacramento
Read more: 9 things we’ve learned about COVID long haulers so far (from UC Davis Health)
When taking an at-home COVID test, also known as a rapid test, always read the maker’s instructions. Most testing brands work in a similar way.
Fifteen minutes after you take the test, you will see either a C or T. A line under the C lets you know the test is working. If there’s no line under the C, you will need to take another test.
If the test worked, no line under the T means the test is negative for COVID-19. If there is a line under the T, that means the test is positive for COVID-19 – no matter how light or dark the line is.
Learn more about at-home COVID test instructions and accuracy
At-home COVID tests, or rapid tests, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have an expiration date printed on the box or packaging. The FDA does not recommend using an expired test.
However, the expiration dates on some tests have been extended. That’s because when manufacturers first released the tests, they printed expiration dates that were pretty conservative. Since then, they’ve done studies that show the expiration date can be pushed back and extended. That means if the expiration date has been extended, you can use your at-home tests past the date printed on the packaging and they will be accurate.
You can check your tests on this FDA list (under the expiration date column) to see if the expiration date for your at-home COVID-19 test has been extended. You can also see if there is a new expiration date.
UC Davis Health expert explains what you should know about expired COVID tests
Check this FDA list of approved at-home tests to see if your test is expired
Medically reviewed by Dean Blumberg, M.D.
The views expressed on this blog are those of the author(s) and readers. This blog does not imply that UC Davis Health endorses the views expressed. We cannot diagnose conditions, provide second opinions or make specific treatment recommendations through this website. We invite you to learn more about our social media guidelines, which apply to all UC Davis Health social media channels, including blogs. If you have concerns, comments or suggestions about the care you or your family received, please contact Patient Relations at 800-305-6540. If you have medical questions or would like to make an appointment or find out about the referral process, please call 800-2-UCDAVIS.
© 2023 UC Regents. All Rights Reserved | Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy | Social Media Participation Guidelines


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *