To Stop the Spread, Testing is Critical

By getting tested when you need to, you can help stop the spread of COVID-19 in your community.

Testing guidelines may continue to change.

Recommendations for testing may change as the we learn more about COVID-19 and scientists develop new testing technology.

Ask Yourself: Do I Need a Test?

Do I need to get Tested?

Are you experiencing symptoms of COVID-19?

Have you been exposed to someone who has COVID-19?

Has a health provider or contact tracer advised you to get tested?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should be tested for COVID-19.

If you are not sure if you need to be tested, call your health provider or your local health department. They will help you decide if you need to be tested or not.

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Understand Your Testing Options


Testing for Active Infections

A viral test will tell you if you currently have COVID-19. Viral tests can be done by a nasal swab or saliva (spit) test. It is very important to get a viral test at the right time. If you get tested too soon, the results may not be accurate.

A viral test should be done when you are either showing symptoms or 5-10 days after you believe you may have been exposed.

Testing for Antibodies

An antibody test can tell whether a person has had a specific type of virus in the past. Antibody testing for COVID-19 is still very new. It is not known if antibodies provide protection against COVID-19, or how long this protection may last.

For these reasons, public health experts do not recommend antibody tests for most patients. If you are unsure, ask your doctor.

Testing Results

Stay home and stay away from others to avoid spreading COVID-19 while you wait for results of a viral test.


If You Test Positive

Stay home and take care of yourself. Although there is currently no treatment specifically for COVID-19, you can take steps to manage your symptoms at home.

You should stay in a specific “sick room” if possible and stay away from other people and pets in your home. Wash your hands often. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces every day.

Keep in touch with your doctor for specific advice. Call 911 if you have an emergency warning sign, like shortness of breath that turns into trouble breathing or a high fever.

If You Test Negative

A negative test means you were probably not infected with COVID-19 at the time you were tested. You could still become infected and pass the virus to others.

Continue taking steps to stop the spread. Practice physical distancing, wash your hands, and wear a mask when you leave your home.

If you are feeling sick, stay home and rest. Stay in touch with your doctor. If your symptoms continue, you may need to be tested again.

Frequently Asked Questions

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