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? 

Vaccinated people

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms please get a COVID-19 test. 

Symptoms include: 

  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Fever
  • Loss of taste and smell
  •  Shortness of breath

If you are not experiencing symptoms, but know you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19:

  • Monitor your symptoms closely. Our Symptom Tracker can help you keep track
  • Get a COVID-19 test somewhere between 3 and 5 days after exposure
  • You do not need to isolate, but please wear a mask when around other people until your test results come back

Unvaccinated people

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms please get a COVID-19 test. 

Symptoms include: 

  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Fever
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Shortness of breath

If you are not experiencing symptoms, but know you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19:

  • Monitor your symptoms closely. Our Symptom Tracker can help you keep track
  • Isolate at home for 14 days following the exposure
  • On day 10, get a COVID-19 test. If it is negative you can exit isolation early

 

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.