COVID-19 tests are free at health centers and certain pharmacies across the U.S. Testing is also available at many drive-through sites around the country. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act makes testing free to anyone, including people who don’t have health insurance.
How Is a COVID-19 Test Done?
COVID-19 testing is done on a sample of your mucus or saliva. That sample can be obtained in a couple of ways. Many testing locations use a long nasal swab — essentially a thin, flexible stick with cotton on the end — that’s gently inserted into your nose or touched to the back of your throat to collect mucus. The swab is then placed into a container for transport to the lab that will conduct the test.
If saliva will be used for your COVID-19 test, you’ll be asked to spit into a tube. That tube is then sealed and sent to the lab.
Are There Risks Associated with Getting a COVID-19 Test?
COVID-19 testing is safe and highly accurate. But as with many medical tests, there’s a slight risk of a false-negative result. That means the test indicates you don’t have COVID-19 when, in fact, you do.
The risk, then, is that you’ll unknowingly spread the virus to others. Consequently, it’s important to use disease-prevention practices like physical distancing and wearing a mask when appropriate.
Save Time and Start Your COVID-19 Test Online
If you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or had been exposed to COVID-19, Baptist Health is able to see you virtually, diagnose and order a COVID-19 test to the urgent care closest to you. Learn more and get started now.
When Should I Be Tested for COVID-19?
A COVID-19 test is needed if:
- You have COVID-19 symptoms like cough, fever, trouble breathing, or fatigue
- You don’t have COVID-19 symptoms but have participated in activities that significantly increase your risk of contracting the illness, such as attending large gatherings, spending time in crowded indoor settings, or traveling.
- You don’t have COVID-19 symptoms but have been in close contact with someone who tests positive — meaning they have the illness. Being in close contact with someone means that you’ve been within 6 feet of that person. Even if you’re fully vaccinated, you should get tested 3 to 5 days after close contact with someone who tested positive. Breakthrough infections — when a fully vaccinated person contracts COVID-19 — are rare, but they can occur.
- Your healthcare provider recommends it
- You’ll be traveling outside the U.S. and your destination country requires it
Get a COVID-19 Test at Baptist Health
Getting vaccinated as soon as possible and getting tested for COVID-19 when appropriate are two of the best ways to protect yourself and others from the virus. If you think you need to be tested, you can find a Baptist Health COVID-19 testing location online.
Please note that if your Baptist Health provider orders a COVID-19 test following a virtual care visit, you will be charged the co-pay cost for the virtual care session, with any remaining cost billed to your insurance company.
Next Steps and Useful Resources:
Schedule Your Vaccine Appointment
Start Your COVID-19 Test Online
Why You Shouldn’t Use Ivermectin to Prevent or Treat COVID-19
What to Know About COVID-19 Breakthrough Cases
What You Need to Know About Traveling During COVID-19