COVID-19 Testing

Page last updated 06/12/2024.

There are many ways you can test to see if you have COVID-19:

  • Contact your healthcare provider.
  • Visit your local drug store.
  • Find a testing site in your community. 

If you do not have a healthcare provider and would like to get connected to one, call 2-1-1. If you have serious symptoms, like difficulty breathing, call 9-1-1.

See below, or click the following links, for more information:

How to Get Tested

Use an At-Home Test

At home test

At-home, or self-tests, are antigen tests that can be taken anywhere. 

  • They give results in less than 30 minutes.
  • Detect current infection.
  • Follow all the instructions inside the at-home/self-test. If you do not follow the instructions, your test result may be incorrect.

Buy at-home/self-tests:

  • Online, or 
  • In pharmacies, and 
  • Retail stores. 

Visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website for a list of authorized tests. 

  • Check the FDA website to see if your COVID-19 tests can be used safely past the expiration date on the box.

Get a COVID-19 Test

When to Get Tested

  • If you have symptoms, test immediately. 
    • If you test negative, consider testing again 1-2 days after your first test. 
    • If still negative, take a 3rd test in 1-2 days.
  • If you are at higher risk of severe disease, or have contact with people who are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 infection, and you were exposed to COVID-19 but do not have symptoms, consider testing:
    • Within 5 days after the last exposure date, and 
    • Prior to contact with high​​er risk people (including adults 50+ or those with weakened immunity). 
    • If you test negative, consider testing again 1 to 2 days after your first test. If you test too early, you may be more likely to get an inaccurate result. 
  • Post-exposure testing is not recommended if you were infected with COVID-19 in the last 30 days and do not have symptoms. Testing is recommended for all people with new symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If you are in certain high-risk settings, you may need to test as part of a screening testing program.
  • If you are going to an indoor event or gathering, test immediately before the gathering, or as close to the time of the event as possible. 
    • This is especially important before gathering with individuals at risk of severe disease, older adults, those who are immunocompromised, or people who are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines, including children who cannot get vaccinated yet.

Understanding Test Results

If your test result is:

Positive:

  • The virus was detected, and you have, or recently had, an infection.
  • Stay home if you have COVID-19 symptoms until you have not had a fever for 24 hours without using fever reducing medication, AND other COVID-19 symptoms are mild and improving.
  • Watch for symptoms. If you have any emergency warning signs, seek emergency care immediately.
  • Contact your healthcare provider, community health center, or pharmacy to learn about treatment options that may be available to you. You are more likely to get very sick if you are an older adult or have an underlying medical condition. 

For more information, visit If You Are Sick With a Respiratory Virus.

Negative:

  • The virus was not detected, but this does not rule out an infection.
  • If you have symptoms:
    • You may have COVID-19, but tested before the virus was detectable, or you may have another illness.
    • Take everyday preventive precautions to prevent spreading an illness to others.
    • Contact your healthcare provider if your symptoms worsen.
  • If you do not have symptoms but were exposed follow respiratory virus prevention strategies.
  • If you do not have symptoms and you have not been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, you may continue normal activities.

Reporting an At-Home/Self-Test Result

  • Reporting is not required. If you need medical care, it may be helpful to share your result with your healthcare provider.
  • You can safely and privately report COVID-19 home test results at MakeMyTestCount.org

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