When you get tested:
Make sure to test at the right time
Choose the right type of test for your circumstance
Follow test directions as recommended by FDA
If you do not, your results may be less likely to correctly show if you have COVID-19 or not.
When to Get Tested for COVID-19
Key times to get tested:
- If you have symptoms, test immediately.
- If you were exposed to COVID-19 and do not have symptoms, wait at least 5 full days after your exposure before testing. If you test too early, you may be more likely to get an inaccurate result. Take steps to prevent spread to others, including masking.
- Consider testing before contact with someone at high risk for severe COVID-19, especially if you are in an area with a medium or high COVID-19 Community Level.
How to get tested:
If you have had COVID in the last 90 days, visit the CDC’s testing page for more information on your testing options.
Use an at-home test kit.
- At-home COVID test kits are easy to use and provide quick results.
- These kits may be more likely to give false negative results, especially in people without symptoms. If you test negative, test again in 48 hours. Repeat testing increases accuracy.
- Free test kits are available in county libraries while supplies last.
- Your insurance may cover test kits.
- Many COVID tests now have extended expiration dates – that means the company making the test provided data to show that the test continues to work for a longer time. Learn more about different test kits and expiration date extensions. (FDA)
- Test positive with a home kit? Report a positive at-home test (Please note, this is now a federal site. The state is no longer collecting self-reported test results.)
- See CDC self-testing guidance
Get a PCR test.
- PCR tests are more reliable for people with or without symptoms, but it takes longer to get results.
- These tests detect viral genetic material, which may stay in your body for up to 90 days after you test positive. You should not use a PCR test if you have tested positive in the last 90 days.
- Find testing sites through the Testing Locator. These sites offer low-no cost options.
- Check with your provider or pharmacy for testing options. Ask about cost and insurance coverage.
If you test positive, visit our If You are Exposed or Sick page for guidance to help protect others and prevent the spread of COVID-19.