Exposure and Testing
When should I get tested for coronavirus?
Individuals should get tested for COVID-19 if they are experiencing symptoms or if they have had close contact with another individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. Close contact is when a person has been within six feet of a positive individual for 15 minutes or more during their infectious period. People with COVID-19 are infectious beginning two days before their symptoms start or two days before their positive test if the individual is asymptomatic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created this easy self-guided symptom checker to help you determine whether your symptoms are associated with COVID-19.
Where do I get tested?
Testing capabilities have been greatly increased across Montgomery County since the COVID-19 outbreak first began. There are a number of options available (some that are no-cost, and some with a cost) so you should determine which option is best for you.
Here is a map-based webpage that shows the locations of testing sites in Montgomery County that are open to the public and do not require a doctor’s referral. Here is a map-based webpage from the PA Department of Health that shows locations of testing sites in the region and across the state.
I can’t get in to see my doctor and I’m worried I might have the virus. What should I do?
Your first call should be to a doctor. If your doctor is unavailable, you can try to schedule a test at one of the Montgomery County Office of Public Health COVID-19 testing sites. Try to avoid going to the hospital Emergency Room as much as possible, and definitely do not call 9-1-1 unless you’re in a serious medical emergency.
How long do test results take?
If you are being tested through the Montgomery County Community-based testing sites, Results from the PCR test are usually back within 24-48 hrs. If you are getting tested through a private provider, check with the individual provider for more information.
WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMEONE I KNOW TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19?
Monitor your symptoms and get tested on day five after your exposure to the Covid-19 positive person. People are infectious with Covid-19 starting two days before the onset of symptoms.
I WAS IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH SOMEONE WHO IS GETTING TESTED. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Monitor your symptoms and if you develop Covid-19 symptomatic, get tested.
Can a person test negative and later test positive for COVID-19?
Using the CDC-developed diagnostic test, a negative result means that the virus that causes COVID-19 was not found in the person’s sample. In the early stages of infection, it is possible the virus will not be detected.
For COVID-19, a negative test result for a sample collected while a person has symptoms likely means that the COVID-19 virus is not causing their current illness.
i’ve heard a lot about antibody testing. where can i get one of those type of tests?
The FDA has issued EUA approval for several serological tests that detect SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. These tests are designed to detect the presence of antibodies and should not be used to diagnose an active COVID-19 infection. Antibody testing is not recommended to assess immunity after receiving a COVID-19 vaccinations. In certain low risk situations, positive antibody tests can be used to reduce quarantine after consultation with the Office of Public Health. For additional information from the Pennsylvania Department of Health on antibody testing, click here.