With the spread of coronavirus, it’s normal to have a lot of questions, especially about coronavirus testing. We’re here to answer your questions about the testing process and procedures with the most up-to-date information we have.
Please Note: The Coronavirus Testing Process Might Vary Nationwide
We’re sharing the most updated information available on coronavirus testing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Florida Department of Health — two reliable sources during this pandemic — but we understand that you may not live in the Sunshine State.
If you don’t live in Florida, a lot of the information below likely still applies to you as it comes from the CDC, which is a national organization. However, contact your state health department for specific questions about coronavirus testing in your area.
Who Gets Tested for Coronavirus?
To be tested for coronavirus, you must meet the evaluation criteria set by the CDC, and a physician’s order is required to be tested for coronavirus. Read more about your risk of coronavirus and what to know if you’re healthy.
If you believe you're at risk for coronavirus (COVID-19), please contact your health care provider or the local Department of Health. Risk factors that may indicate coronavirus (COVID-19) include fever, cough, or flu-like signs, AND either recent international travel OR contact with someone recently diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19).
In their coronavirus FAQs, the CDC says that your doctor will determine whether you should be tested. The Florida Department of Health says that your health care provider will work with your county health department to determine whether you need to be tested.
Who’s in Charge of Coronavirus Tests?
The CDC developed the laboratory test kit that’s used to identify coronavirus. The CDC has distributed test kits to U.S. state and local health laboratories in all 50 states, so there is most likely a laboratory in your area that is performing coronavirus tests.
It’s imperative to note that the number of coronavirus test kits is limited. The test requires a physician’s order and will only be given to people who meet the CDC’s evaluation criteria.
For regularly updated information about coronavirus testing in America, as well as public health laboratories performing the testing, visit this page from the CDC.
What Does the Coronavirus Test Look Like?
If you’ve had a flu test, you’ve likely had a nose and throat swab. The test for coronavirus is similar. Testing may involve taking a nasal and/or oral swab, or a saliva and/or sputum sample — kits aren’t all the same. You can see a picture of the test kit itself on the CDC’s website.
Where Can I Get Tested for Coronavirus?
First, call or visit your primary care doctor virtually through the AdventHealth app to evaluate your symptoms. Before ordering a coronavirus test, your doctor may also evaluate you for the common cold, the flu, mono and other illnesses that have symptoms similar to coronavirus.
If you meet the CDC criteria and receive a physician’s order for the test, your doctor or local department of health can direct you on where to go for testing.
Can I Order a Coronavirus Test, or Get One From the ER?
A coronavirus test requires a physician’s order. You’ll need to call your doctor for an evaluation to determine whether you should be tested. It’s not possible to order your own coronavirus test or go to a hospital or urgent care and request one.
To help prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), you should avoid the emergency room at your local hospital except in cases of an emergency.
Who Shares Coronavirus Testing Results?
Once a coronavirus test is collected, the test will be given to the county health department. Local public health authorities and CDC labs process the test specimens. Tests that appear positive for coronavirus will need to be confirmed.
We’re Here for You at Every Stage of the Pandemic
As this health threat continues to evolve, we’re dedicated to not only relaying coronavirus updates regularly, but also to giving your family the kind of news you can use to stay safe, healthy and well. Find coronavirus FAQs, other articles like this one and more on our Coronavirus Resource Hub.