What does it mean if my COVID-19 test result is inconclusive or unclear?

An inconclusive or unclear COVID-19 test result can be caused by several factors. One reason a test may come back with an inconclusive result is that viral DNA was present but only in amounts too small for a true positive. Low amounts of viral DNA can occur when an infection is very new, when an infection is nearly over, or when a sample wasn’t collected properly.


Inconclusive or unclear test results can also occur when a COVID-19 test that detects both a SARS-CoV-2 specific target and a general coronavirus target only detects the general coronavirus target. If the result is inconclusive or unclear, you should quarantine until you can discuss the results with a medical professional or you can get retested.


You can learn more about inconclusive test results here:



This question appears in: General Testing Questions

Last edited on: April 25, 2022