The Facts on Testing for COVID-19

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and want to get tested, try calling your state or local health department or a healthcare provider. Supplies of tests are increasing, but it may still be difficult to find a place to get tested, depending on where you live.

Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after being exposed to COVID-19. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Facts about COVID-19 tests

You may be tested using the diagnostic test developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you receive a negative result, that means that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was not found in your sample. However, if you are in the early stages of infection, the virus may not be detected in your sample. If that is the case, you can still spread the virus to others, even if you do not have symptoms.

If you have symptoms but test negative for COVID-19, it is likely that COVID-19 is not causing your current illness.

The process and locations for testing vary from place to place. Contact your state, local, tribal, or territorial department of health for more information, or reach out to a healthcare professional. (State and local public health departments have received tests from the CDC while healthcare providers are getting tests developed by commercial manufacturers.)

Beware of scam testing

Some companies are marketing fraudulent test kits that claim to test for COVID-19 in the home. At this time, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not authorized ANY home tests for COVID-19. The FDA is actively and aggressively monitoring for any companies that may be selling products with false COVID-19 diagnostic, prevention, and treatment claims.

Know your options for treatment

Be aware that there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.

If you have a confirmed or possible case of COVID-19, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately. Let them know that you suspect you may have COVID-19. Meanwhile, take care of yourself while limiting contact with those around you. Be sure to stay hydrated and get lots of rest. You should also wash your hands frequently, remain in a separate room from those you live with and limit close contact, and keep all surfaces clean.

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

This list does not contain every emergency warning sign. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any severe symptoms that have you concerned.

For any additional questions about your care, contact your healthcare provider or state or local health department.

Stay Empowered, Stay Informed

  • CDC 2019 Novel Coronavirus Information Hub
  • Frequently Asked Questions from the World Health Organization
  • Coronavirus Disease Update from Administration for Community Living
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