COVID-19 Testing Information
Who should get tested?
Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 should isolate and get tested right away. Symptoms of COVID-19 include:
If you came into close contact with someone who has COVID-19 while they were infectious, you should quarantine and get tested. Wait 5-7 days after the last time you were around the person to get tested. This lets enough of the virus build up in your body to be detected by the tests.
What does close contact mean?
Close contact means:
- You were closer than 6 feet from someone who has the virus for a total of 15 minutes or longer in a 24-hour period.
- You cared for someone at home who is sick with COVID-19.
- You had direct physical contact with the person who has COVID-19 (hugged or kissed them).
- You shared eating or drinking utensils with the person who has COVID-19.
- The person who has COVID-19 sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.
What if I need to get tested for work or to travel?
Some testing locations may provide work and travel related testing. Check with the testing location to see if they offer testing for work or travel. Keep in mind that COVID-19 testing for these types of reasons may not be covered by insurance. Make sure to call your insurance provider to find out if you will be responsible to pay for the test.
Where can I get tested for COVID-19?
There are more than 100 testing locations in Utah. Each testing site has different requirements and may offer different types of COVID-19 tests. Use the COVID-19 testing site locator to find a testing location near you or call a healthcare provider.
Important things you should know:
- Most testing locations don’t let you just show up and get tested. Most testing sites require you to make an appointment or have a doctor’s note before you can get tested.
- Testing sites may have different ways to register to get tested and offer different types of COVID-19 tests.
- Click on the testing location to bring up the information for that testing site.
- Follow the instructions to register to get tested.
Is COVID-19 testing free?
Most people will not have to pay for COVID-19 testing. You should not be asked for payment when you go to a testing location.
If you have health insurance:
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act ensures the cost of getting a COVID-19 test is covered at 100% if you have health insurance and you have a medical reason to be tested. This means you have symptoms of COVID-19, you have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, or you have a referral from a healthcare professional or the health department to get tested.
If you have health insurance, you should not be charged for a test no matter what testing site you go to. Healthcare providers are required by federal law to post a cash price for COVID-19 tests. This is to inform health insurance companies what to pay if you get tested by a provider that is out-of-network.
If you have insurance and are receiving an assessment or evaluation for COVID-19 and your healthcare provider decides to test you for COVID-19, you should not be charged for the test or the evaluation visit. If you do receive a bill, contact your provider and your insurance company to resolve the issue or email the Utah Department of Health at COVID19TestingCoverage@utah.gov.
If you do not have health insurance:
If you are uninsured and are a U.S. citizen and a Utah resident, you qualify for COVID-19 testing coverage through Medicaid. Medicaid COVID-19 testing coverage for the uninsured covers the COVID-19 tests and all testing related services including doctor appointments (both in-person and through telehealth), ER visits, and any services performed in order to diagnose COVID-19, including X-rays, etc. Testing and other services will be paid for back to the date of your services. You must apply for this program at https://medicaid.utah.gov/covid-19-uninsured-testing-coverage/.
If you are uninsured and do not qualify for the Medicaid option, there are locations that will provide testing free of charge.
If you need help finding a location that provides free testing, please call the Utah Coronavirus Hotline at 1-800-456-7707 or use the chat feature on the coronavirus.utah.gov website.
If you are being tested for a non-medical reason:
You may be charged if you are getting tested for employment, travel, or non-medical reasons. Testing for general workplace health and safety (such as employee ‘return to work’ programs), public health surveillance, or any other purpose not primarily intended for diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19 or another health condition are not included in the requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and may not be covered by your health insurance. Check with your health insurance company for coverage details before you get tested.
What are the types of COVID-19 tests?
There are three types of tests related to COVID-19.
PCR test: A PCR test tells you if you have COVID-19 right now and could spread it to other people. A PCR test looks for the genetic material of the virus. It is a very accurate test and almost always detects if a person is infected with the virus. PCR tests are processed in a lab and the results can take a few days to get back. PCR tests are usually done by:
- Nasal or nasopharyngeal swab: A healthcare worker puts a swab into your nose to collect a sample either just inside your nose or reaching further down your throat.
- Saliva: The saliva test is easier to perform, safer for healthcare workers, and more comfortable for the patient. You spit into a cup or tube and your saliva is then tested. The saliva test is as accurate as the swab test.
Rapid antigen test: An antigen test looks for proteins found on or within the virus. It tells you if you have COVID-19 right now and could spread it to other people. An antigen test is like a PCR test, where a sample is collected with a nasal or nasopharyngeal swab, but you are able to get the results much quicker. Results take about 15 minutes.
Antigen tests can detect only high amounts of virus and are less sensitive than PCR tests. They work best when someone has symptoms of COVID-19. Antigen tests are most accurate during the first 5-7 days of your illness when your viral load is highest.
You may need to get a PCR test to confirm the results of your antigen test. You should get a PCR test within 24-48 hours after you got your rapid antigen test if:
- You have symptoms of COVID-19 but your rapid antigen test result was negative.
- You do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and were not in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 but your rapid antigen test result was positive.
Serology or antibody test: Serology, or antibody tests, may be able to tell if you have ever been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. They do not tell you if you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 right now and can spread it to other people. Antibody tests should not be used to diagnose current infections. A positive antibody test does not guarantee immunity to COVID-19. A sample of your blood is collected and is used to see if your body has made antibodies to the virus. Your body makes antibodies when it fights an infection. Antibodies in your blood mean, at one time, you were exposed to COVID-19. Antibody tests find these antibodies in your blood and tell you if your immune system has responded to the infection.
What should I do after I get tested?
You should stay at home until you get your test results back. Do not go to work, school, religious services, extracurricular activities, or anywhere else.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should isolate right away. This means you stay home and away from other people, except to get medical care.
How long does it take to get my test results?
It may take up to 5 days to get your test results. Some healthcare providers may send samples to national labs for testing rather than labs in Utah. These test results can take longer than 5 days to receive.
Surges in testing can also delay the time it takes for you to get your test result back.
How do I get my test results?
The healthcare provider who took your sample will call you back with your test results. The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) is not able to give you test results. If you haven’t received your tests results, contact the healthcare provider where you were tested.
The health department will only call you if you test positive for COVID-19. When the health department calls you, they will ask you about who you have been in close contact with since you got sick. This helps them to know who may also need to be tested for COVID-19.
If you have not been called about your test results within 3 days, call the healthcare provider who took your sample.
You may also download the Healthy Together app to get your test results. You must use the same phone number to set up the app as you provided to the testing location in order to get your test results.
If you were tested by:
If you would like to speak to someone about your health concerns, you can call the case management department at 801-758-3369, or visit the website for additional information.
If you were tested through TestUtah, you should receive an email with instructions on how to get your test result. The email will be sent to the email address you provided when answering the survey. Your results will be available in your Silicon Slopes account. If your account doesn’t show a result yet, then the test is still in process. If you don’t have an account or don’t remember how to access it, call the TestUtah helpline at 801-683-0790.
Any other provider or testing location
Contact the provider where you got tested to get your test results.
What do my test results mean?
What should I do if I test negative for COVID-19?
You should quarantine for 10 days. Or if you are tested on day 7 of quarantine and if you test negative and do not have any symptoms of COVID-19, you can end quarantine.
A negative test does not mean you won’t ever get sick with COVID-19. If you test negative for COVID-19, you probably did not have the virus at the time of your test. This does not mean you will not get sick. It is possible that you were very early in your infection and that you could test positive later, or you could be exposed later and then get sick. Continue to monitor for symptoms and if you do get sick or your symptoms change, call your doctor and isolate right away. You may need to be re-tested for COVID-19.
What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?
You should stay isolated from other people until you have been:
- fever-free for 24 hours (without using medicine to lower your fever), and
- your respiratory symptoms have gotten better for at least 24 hours, and
- it has been at least 10 days since you first got sick.
- If you did not have symptoms, isolate for 10 days from the day you were tested.
You are infectious and can spread the virus to others starting up to 2 days before you first had symptoms until your isolation period is over. If you never had symptoms, you are infectious starting up to 2 days before you were tested for COVID-19. Anyone who came into close contact with you while you were infectious should quarantine for 10 days from the last time they were around you. People living in your home should quarantine for 10 days since the last time they were around you. Everyone in your house should quarantine until everyone is better.
Will the health department call me if I test positive or was exposed to COVID-19?
If you test positive, the health department will contact you to do a case investigation. This means a public health worker will ask you about any possible exposures you had and who else may have been in close contact with you while you were infectious. This helps them to know where you may have gotten the virus and who else is at risk for getting COVID-19. Contact tracing is done after a case investigation. This means the health department calls people who may have been exposed to you while you were infectious to tell them what to do.
Right now, health departments across Utah are overwhelmed with the number of people who are testing positive with COVID-19. This means it could take several days for the health department to call you after you test positive. It’s important that you call the public health worker back if they leave you a message. In rare instances, you may not get a call from the health department after you test positive. This can happen if we do not have the right phone number for you or if you choose to not answer our calls.
Some health departments are not able to do contact tracing right now and are focusing their limited and strained resources on case investigations. If you were exposed to someone who has COVID-19 you should quarantine for 14 days, even if the health department doesn’t contact you.