Negative PCR test result (COVID-19 not detected)

If your PCR test is negative, you’ll get a text message to say that the test did not detect COVID-19. This means that the virus was not found in your sample.

A negative PCR test result does not mean that you’ve never had COVID-19.

It’s possible that you had the virus, but that:

  • your immune system cleared it by the time you were tested
  • there was no virus present in the sample taken

You do not need to report a negative PCR test result. You only need to report a negative antigen result online.

What to do

When you get a negative PCR result, what you need to do next depends on if you got a PCR test because you had symptoms.

If you had symptoms

You need to self-isolate (stay in your room) until 48 hours after your symptoms are gone or mostly gone.

Do this even if you have completed your first round of COVID-19 vaccination or had a booster or had a positive PCR test result in the past.

You can return to your normal activities when you have not had symptoms for 48 hours. This includes going to work or school.

If your symptoms continue or get worse, phone your GP.

When you need to book antigen tests

You will need to do an antigen test on day 7 if all of the following apply to you:

  • You are a close contact who had symptoms of COVID-19.
  • You got a negative PCR test result.
  • You're over 40 or a healthcare worker.

Do your antigen test 7 days after:

  • you were last in contact with the person who tested positive, if you know this
  • you got the close contact text from the HSE, if you don't know when you were last in contact with the person who tested positive

Book antigen tests as soon as you get your negative PCR result text message from the HSE.

If you did not have symptoms

You may have done a PCR test but did not have symptoms. For example, as a close contact.

If your PCR test result is negative you can stop self-isolating right away. But you should continue to restrict your movements (stay at home) for the time period you were advised to by the HSE.

Last updated: 28 January 2022 at 3.38pm