COVID-19 Testing Information
Testing capabilities for COVID-19 have increased dramatically since the beginning of the pandemic. Currently, anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms (which now includes fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches and chills, or decreased sense of smell or taste) should be tested for COVID-19.
There are many options for testing in Utah, including drive-thru locations operated by Intermountain Healthcare, the University of Utah Health, Steward Health Care, and TestUtah. For more information on how to access testing at these sites and to make your experience at these sites go as smooth as possible, click on the links to the right.
Testing FAQ with Testing Director Nate Checketts
During one of his COVID-19 briefings, Governor Gary Herbert interviewed Utah Department of Health deputy director Nate Checketts about some of the common questions related to testing. Read the Q&A here.
COVID-19 Testing Criteria
COVID-19 testing capacity in Utah has expanded.
The Utah Department of Health still recommends healthcare providers and COVID-19 testing sites test all individuals with any of the following symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches and pains, decreased sense of smell or taste, or sore throat.
Types of COVID-19 Tests
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. A healthcare worker uses a nasal swab to collect a sample from your throat, behind your nose.
An antigen test is a new kind of COVID-19 test. You can get results in minutes. 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. Like a PCR test, a healthcare worker uses a nasal swab to collect a sample from your throat, behind your nose. Antigen tests are very accurate. However, there is a higher chance of having a false negative test result. This means if you test negative for COVID-19 with an antigen test, you may also need to get a PCR test to make sure you don’t have COVID-19.
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. 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. More information on the antibody test can be found farther on this page.
Contact tracing is an important part of how public health responds and stops disease outbreaks. People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are more at risk of getting infected and making others sick. Contact tracing is how public health workers find the close contacts of someone who has COVID-19.