IF YOU ARE FULLY VACCINATED
CDC has updated its guidance for people who are fully vaccinated. See Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People.
IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR SCHOOLS
CDC recommends schools continue to use the current COVID-19 prevention strategies for the 2020-2021 school year. Learn more

Test for Current Infection

Test for Current Infection

Viral tests are used to look for current infection

A viral test checks specimens from your nose or your mouth to find out if you are currently infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Viral tests can be performed in a laboratory, at a testing site, or at home or anywhere else. Two types of viral tests are used: nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) and antigen tests.

Who should get tested

The following people should get tested for COVID-19:

  • People who have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • People without symptoms of COVID-19 such as:
    • People not fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccine who have had close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19 (including a person who does not have symptoms within 10 days of their positive test result).
    • People not fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccine who have taken part in activities that put them at higher risk for COVID-19, such as attending large social or mass gatherings, or being in crowded indoor settings.
    • People not fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccine who are prioritized for expanded community screening for COVID-19.
    • People not fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccine who have been asked or referred to get testing by their school, workplace, healthcare provider, state, tribal, localexternal icon or territorial health department.

Who does not need to be tested

The following people who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 do not need to get tested if they do not have COVID-19 symptoms:

Coronavirus Self-Checker
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Coronavirus Self-Checker is a tool to help you make decisions on when to seek testing and appropriate medical care.

Get the Tool

How to get a viral test

  • Visit your state, tribal, localexternal icon, or territorial health department’s website to look for the latest local information on testing.
  • Visit your healthcare or public health department clinic provider to get a self-collection kit or self-test.
  • You and your healthcare provider might consider either self-collection kit or a self-test if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and can’t get tested by a healthcare provider.

Positive viral test

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  • If you test positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, take the following steps to protect others regardless of your COVID-19 vaccination status: Isolate at home and isolate away from others for at least 10 days.
    • If you do not have any symptoms, you should still isolate at home for at least 10 days.
    • If you develop symptoms, continue to isolate for at least 10 days after symptoms began as long as symptoms have improved, and no fever is present for at least 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medications.
    • Most people have mild COVID-19 illness and can recover at home without medical care.
    • Contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible if you are more likely to get very sick because of being an older adult or having underlying medical conditions or if your symptoms get worse.
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  • Talk to your healthcare provider or local health department to find out how long to isolate if you:
    • Are severely ill with COVID-19 or have a weakened immune system
    • Had a positive test result followed by a negative result
    • Test positive for many weeks after the initial result

Negative viral test

If you test negative for the virus that causes COVID-19, the virus was not detected.

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  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19:
    • You may have received a false negative test result and still might have COVID-19. You should isolate away from others.
    • Contact your healthcare provider about your symptoms, especially if they worsen, about follow-up testing, and how long to isolate.
  • If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and,  you were exposed to a person with COVID-19:
    • You are likely not infected, but you still may get sick.
    • Self-quarantine at home for 14 days after your exposure.
      • Persons who are fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccine do not need to self-quarantine at home
        • For residents of non-healthcare congregate settings (e.g. correctional and detention facilities, group homes) and employees of residential congregate settings and high-density workplaces (e.g. meat and poultry processing and manufacturing plants), refer to CDC’s recommendations for fully vaccinated people.
    • Contact your local health department regarding options to reduce the length of quarantine. If symptoms develop during home quarantine:
      • Contact your healthcare provider about follow-up testing
      • Isolate at home separated away from others
  • If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and do not have a known exposure to a person with COVID-19:
    • You do not need to self-quarantine.

Take steps to protect yourself

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Whether you test positive or negative for COVID-19, you should take preventive measures to protect yourself and others.

Important ways to slow the spread