When should you get tested for COVID-19?
Please use the following guidance on when to seek testing for COVID-19:
- If you are having a procedure or surgery: follow your clinic’s directions on if testing is required and when to get tested.
- If you have COVID-19 symptoms: get tested as soon as you can and stay home until you have the results.
- If you were exposed to someone who has COVID-19 and do NOT have symptoms: quarantine according to current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and get tested on day 5, if possible. If you are seeking care during your quarantine, contact your clinic prior to your visit.
- If you tested positive with a home antigen test: you do not need to be tested with a lab test at a test site to confirm the result; presume that you have COVID-19 and self-isolate according to current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
If you are otherwise healthy with mild symptoms and cannot find testing availability, you should presume that you have COVID-19 and you should self-isolate according to current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Please DO NOT go to the emergency department only for a COVID-19 test.
Learn more about COVID-19 symptoms and when to seek emergency medical attention.
Other COVID-19 testing options
To find other COVID-19 testing locations, visit King County Public Health or Washington State Department of Health. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also has COVID-19 Test to Treat Locator where people are able to get tested and – if they are positive and treatments are appropriate for them – receive a prescription from a health care provider, and have their prescription filled all at one location.
At-home antigen tests
Please note that rapid at-home antigen tests fail to detect some symptomatic, and most asymptomatic (no symptoms) COVID-19 cases. UW Medicine recommends using home antigen tests only if you have symptoms. They cannot be used for pre-procedure testing.
Report your positive at-home test results
People who use at-home test kits and receive a positive result should call the state COVID-19 hotline, 1.800.525.0127 then press # (press 7 for Spanish), as soon as they receive results. Language assistance is available.
Testing for the visually impaired
Those with visual impairment can work with a visual interpreter to complete any type of COVID-19 rapid antigen or PCR at-home test through the National Federation of the Blind. Get help from a visual interpreter.
Frequently asked questions
Will I need to leave my car?
This depends on the testing location. When you go through drive-through testing, please do not leave your vehicle. A healthcare provider will take your nose swab while you remain in your car.
Can someone drive me to the testing site?
Please drive yourself to the testing site to maintain good physical distancing. However, this is not required. You may still get tested if you're the passenger instead of the driver. Multiple people who need testing may drive together.
Do I need to bring ID and insurance information?
Please bring identification, such as a driver's license or passport, with you to the testing site so we can verify your identity. If you have insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, please also bring this information so that we can complete your registration if needed.
How long is the typical wait at the drive-through?
Wait times at testing sites can vary by location.
What if I need to reschedule or cancel my testing appointment?
If you need to cancel or reschedule your testing appointment at Harborview Medical Center or UW Medical Center – Northwest, please call 206.520.8700. You may also reschedule or cancel your appointment through your MyChart account at mychart.uwmedicine.org. For all other testing locations, click on the link provided to you in your confirmation email or in the Solv application.
MyChart appointment rescheduling and cancellation instructions can be found on the "Visits" page upon log in.
When will I receive my test results?
The amount of time it takes to receive COVID-19 test results may vary. It may take up to 72 hours to receive your test results, or they may be available sooner.
For those who get tested at UW Medical Center – Northwest or Harborview Medical Center, if you sign up for a MyChart account, you can get your test results there.
For more information on what to do while you wait, read our follow-up instructions at: https://www.uwmedicine.org/coronavirus/testing/follow-up-instructions.
When should someone visit an urgent care clinic?
If you are experiencing any new symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough or shortness of breath but aren't sure if you should get tested, please visit one of our urgent care clinics: uwmedicine.org/services/urgent-care.
Our UW Medicine providers will evaluate your symptoms, rule out other illnesses and can give the COVID-19 test as needed.
Can I get a COVID-19 antibody test at UW Medicine?
UW Medicine offers antibody testing. The antibody test is not the same as a nasal swab test and does not check to see if you have a current COVID-19 infection. People who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should NOT get an antibody test.
Can children be seen at the test sites?
Children can be seen at UW Medicine test sites, but they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
What if I don't want to swab myself or my own child?
If you are not comfortable doing a swab on yourself or your child, a healthcare provider will perform the swab for you.
What do I need to know about travel requirements?
King County has detailed information about travel requirements on their COVID testing page: kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/testing.
Go to the King County COVID-19 testing page to learn more about travel requirements.