COVID-19 Testing: What you Need to Know

Types of COVID-19 tests

A serology test, also known as an antibody test, can detect antibodies to SARS/CoV-2 in your blood. Antibodies are proteins your immune system produces to fight infection and prevent you from becoming ill in the future.

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Although they should not be used for diagnosing a current infection or a past one, antibodies tests can help to identify if there has been an infection in the past. Antibody tests can help you understand how the immune system defends against the virus and provide information about population-level protection. You might be positive for some antibodies if you have received a vaccine. It depends on the type of antibody detected by each test.

There are many at-home testing options available in the United States. You can check with your local pharmacy or retailer to find out where they are.

All Americans, including those without insurance, can obtain free antigen and PCR COVID-19 testing at more than 20,000 locations across the country.

Talk to your doctor immediately if you have positive results and a weak immune system.

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If the at-home test results are negative, it means the test failed to detect the virus. This could mean that you have a lower chance of spreading COVID-19 among others. For specific steps, refer to the instructions included in your test kit. If your test results are negative, you will need to test again within a few business days.

All Americans can take COVID-19 tests, even those who are not insured. Click on your state to view a list of pharmacies and health centers that offer affordable or free testing. For additional testing locations in your area, check your local news and your local health department.

Self-tests or at-home tests are free in the United States. Self-tests are quick and easy to take at home. You should have your COVID-19 status checked if you have any symptoms or were exposed to anyone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

A licensed pharmacist may order COVID-19 testing and give it to patients. This expands testing options and makes it more accessible for people who need it.

The national strategy for testing includes rapid, point-of care testing. This is especially important to support vulnerable patients and those working in frontline healthcare.