This is when you're no longer contagious with COVID-19

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- While the number of COVID-19 cases are growing, the number of recoveries slowly are also.

More than 375 people have recovered in the Houston-area. In cases where people have more mild symptoms, how do they know when they're no longer contagious?

Dr. Joshua Septimus, an internist at Houston Methodist, says there are several ways to determine when you are no longer at risk of spreading the virus.

"When someone is still in the hospital, and we're asking the question of whether or not they've recovered, it's easier," he said. "We retest them, and you have to have two tests, a minimum of 24-hours apart, before you can say that someone is no longer infected."

If you're not in the hospital, the answer is more difficult. Dr. Septimus says, in that case, there is no standard retest.

"The CDC has left some guidance for this, which is to say, that if you are seven days out from the beginning of your symptoms, and 72 hours out from any symptoms at all, you are considered no longer actively infected," he said. "That doesn't mean that you're not contagious at all."

Wearing a mask for a week once your symptoms are gone could also help.

The other issue is we don't know for how long people can still shed the virus, which means hand washing is crucial.

"We find that there's still shedding of the virus in the poop, and you've got to wash your hands copiously," said Septimus. "You've got to be really careful with things we don't usually think about, like the flush handle, and the door handle, and door knob."
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