Current guidance on who should be tested and what to expect from test results.
Who should be tested?
Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19.
Most mild symptoms can be treated at home.
If you think you have symptoms, the most up-to-date way to assess your best next steps is to complete our Screening Tool.
How do I get tested?
Your doctor or state or local health department will decide if you should be tested.
State and local health departments have received tests from the CDC. Individual doctors are coordinating testing through public health labs. They are also getting tests developed by commercial manufacturers.
Different providers, states, and local health departments may have different testing recommendations.
Testing is limited-availability across the country and is currently being prioritized for healthcare workers, emergency medical service providers, police, and other essential workers.
If you or someone you know has COVID-19 symptoms and needs to get tested, call your doctor. They will tell you what to do next.
What can I expect from test results?
Testing can identify if you have the virus that causes COVID-19.
No treatment is specifically approved for COVID-19. But test results can help you and your doctor decide what to do next.
If you test positive and have mild symptoms, your doctor may advise you to care for yourself at home.
If you test positive and have severe symptoms, your doctor will tell you what to do.
A negative test means you were probably not infected at the time of testing. However, it is possible that you were tested early into your infection and that you could test positive later. You could also be exposed at any time and develop the illness.
What can I do while waiting for results?
The turnaround time for testing varies between testing sites.
While waiting for test results, seek emergency care right away if you develop emergency warning signs, which include: persistent chest pain or pressure; extreme difficulty breathing; severe, constant dizziness or lightheadedness; slurred speech; and difficulty waking up.
Have your medical provider’s contact information on hand.
If your symptoms worsen, call your doctor and tell them your symptoms. They will tell you what to do next.