Who Should Get Tested for COVID-19

Considerations for who should get tested

  • People who have symptoms of COVID-19
  • People who have had close contact (within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes) with someone with confirmed COVID-19
  • People who have been asked or referred to get testing by their healthcare provider or  state health department.

Not everyone needs to be tested. If you do get tested, you should self-quarantine/isolate at home pending test results and follow the advice of your health care provider or a public health professional.

How to get a viral test

A viral test checks samples to find out if you are currently infected with COVID-19.  The time it takes to process these tests can vary.

  • You can visit your state or local health department’s website to look for the latest local information on testing.
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and want to get tested, call your healthcare provider first.
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and are not tested, it is important to stay home. Find out what to do if you are sick.

What to do after a viral test

To get your test result, please check with the group that performed your test, such as your healthcare provider or health department. How long it will take to get your test results depends on the test used.

  • If you test positive for COVID-19, know what protective steps to take if you are sick.
    • Most people have mild COVID-19 illness and can recover at home without medical care. Contact your healthcare provider if your symptoms are getting worse or if you have questions about your health.
  • If you test negative for COVID-19, you probably were not infected at the time your sample was collected. This does not mean you will not get sick:
    • A negative test result only means that you did not have COVID-19 at the time of testing or that your sample was collected too early in your infection.
    • You could also be exposed to COVID-19 after the test and then get infected and spread the virus to others.
    • If you have symptoms later, you may need another test to determine if you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

Protect yourself and others. Wear a mask, wash hands often, stay 6 ft from others.

Quarantine is an important way to stop the spread of COVID-19. It means staying home and away from others after you have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.

If you are a close contact to a person with COVID-19, you need to quarantine for 14 days from the time of the exposure. Close contact, generally, means you were within 6 feet of the person
for at least 15 minutes total while they were infectious. COVID-19 patients are considered infectious two days before their symptoms started, or two days before their positive test if they do not develop symptoms.

If you are a close contact, you need to quarantine for 14 days even if you don’t feel sick and even if you have received a negative test for COVID-19.