Testing in San Diego County

COVID-19 tests are used to evaluate your health and help public health agencies control the spread of the virus. They can show places and groups with higher rates of infection. Understanding these patterns is important to safely reopening.

If you have symptoms, contact your medical provider. If you don’t have one, call 2-1-1. If you have serious symptoms, like difficulty breathing, call 9-1-1.

You should also contact your health care provider to see if they have free testing. 


Find free testing 

You can get free testing for COVID-19 at many locations throughout San Diego County. You need an appointment. 

  • For County site appointments, call 2-1-1.
  • For state sites, make appointment online or call 888-634-1123. State sites are in Escondido, El Cajon, Chula Vista and Southeastern San Diego.

These are diagnostic tests. The test takes about 5-10 minutes. Test results generally come back in 3-5 days.  


County site testing schedule

  • San Diego County Credit Union Stadium, Monday - Saturday.
  • Euclid Health Center in Southeastern San Diego on Saturdays.
  • LGBT Community Center in Hillcrest on Mondays.
  • Aquatica, Chula Vista, Monday - Friday.
  • St. Anthony of Padua, National City, Each Wednesday, Friday, Sunday.
  • Oceanside Live Well Center, Monday - Friday.
  • University of San Diego, Monday - Friday.

  • June 1 & 2: Ramona Library
  • June 3: Campo Library
  • June 4: Pauma Valley School
  • June 5: Julian Library
  • June 6: CAL FIRE Monte Vista Headquarters, El Cajon


Do I need to get tested for COVID-19?

To get a COVID-19 test from a County-run site, you do not need to show symptoms. Testing can lead to quicker identification of cases, treatment for infected people, and isolation to prevent spread. Early testing also helps to identify anyone who may have come into contact with someone who is infected.

Any of the following are at higher risk for COVID-19 and should strongly consider testing.

  • People with symptoms
  • Healthcare workers, first responders, and other social service employees
  • People 65 and older
  • People with chronic medical conditions
  • Anyone living or working in congregate settings
  • People exposed to infected individuals in places where COVID-19 risk is high
  • People in essential jobs


Kinds of tests

There are currently two main types of tests for COVID-19: diagnostic and serologic.

Diagnostic tests generally involve collection of a swab sample from the nose or throat. A diagnostic test shows if you have an active infection.

An antibody (or serologic) test shows if you were infected at some point in the past. It requires a blood sample to check for antibodies - proteins in blood that are developed when the body fights an infection. Antibody tests do not check for the virus itself.

For more details, see the FDA's Coronavirus Testing Basics