COVID-19 screening and testing

Is there a difference between a screening and a test?

Yes. We screen individuals using a series of questions to determine exposure risk and if there are any signs and symptoms. Screening may also involve some type of physical examination, such as a temperature check. If it is determined that there is a significant risk from the screening, there are underlying conditions and/or there are symptoms being presented, then a laboratory test may be ordered. There could also be other factors taken into account if a COVID-19 test is ordered.

How do you test a person for COVID-19? 

To test someone for COVID-19, a medical professional swabs inside the patient’s nostril and possibly their throat. If the patient has a wet cough, a sputum sample (the mixture of saliva and mucus that’s coughed up) will also be collected. 

What should I do if I had close contact with someone who has COVID-19? 

If you have symptoms, please follow these instructions

If you do not have symptoms, please create a Symptom Tracker account and start a 14-day quarantine period. Our Symptom Tracker will help you track your health over time and will provide guidance for what to do if you develop symptoms.

If you do not develop symptoms during your tracking time, you will receive a completion certificate. You can use this certificate to prove it is safe to resume your normal day-to-day activities.

Create a Symptom Tracker account

View our Symptom Tracker terms of use

What if I’ve been in contact with someone who was around another person with known COVID-19? 

If you are a secondary contact of someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (for example, your co-worker may have been exposed to a patient with COVID-19) and are not experiencing any respiratory symptoms, you do not need to be screened for COVID-19.  

You are encouraged to self-monitor by being aware of any new respiratory symptoms and checking your temperature for fever. Call your physician for directions should any symptoms develop.

You should not go to the emergency department unless you have a life threatening condition.