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Coronavirus test: how long does it take and when do I get my COVID-19 results?



It can take more than a week to get your coronavirus test results back.


James Martin / CNET

Visit the WHO website for the most current news and information about the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus test kits are still limited in most states across the country, but the good news is that more tests ̵

1; and more types of tests – are slowly available come. The challenge is that the tests are uneven, from who can get a COVID-19 test to the difficulty of finding a test site in your area and even how long it takes before the test results come in.

The shortage of COVID-19 test kits and personal protective equipment in areas where the demand for testing is increasing is one problem. Another recently discovered issue was that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laboratories were infected with the coronavirus, which delayed the distribution of test kits.

In most cases, your doctor will need to let you know a schedule to get your coronavirus results back, but it can range from hours to even a week. Here's what we know about how long it takes to get tested and how to find out your results.

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There are drive-through sites for coronavirus testing [19659002] James Martin / CNET

When can I get a COVID-19 test?

To be tested for coronavirus, you probably need to have a doctor's decision and make an appointment with a testing facility.

However, if you are a high-risk patient or severe symptoms such as breathing difficulties, seek medical attention immediately. Call your doctor for a referral to a testing clinic near you.

How's the COVID-19 test?

When you start testing for coronavirus you will be referred to a clinic or a drive-through test site. If you wait in a medical facility, the CDC recommends that you wear a face cover to prevent the virus from spreading to others.

The most common type of testing for COVID-19 today is a nasal swab similar to testing for other flu viruses (although blood tests with antibodies are on the horizon). The doctor will stretch the inside of your nose for a few seconds with a long, single-use tool that looks like a giant Q-Tip and reaches the top of the throat. The test is then sealed and sent to a lab to determine if you have COVID-19.

Read more: Need a pulse oximeter? These models are available from $ 24

When do I get my results?

In theory, the lab can determine within a few hours whether you have contracted the coronavirus. But depending on where you live, it can take up to a week or more to get your test results back. It also depends on how many tests were taken at your location. For example, some facilities, such as in New York, are overwhelmed by the number of people being tested – therefore the waiting time may be longer.

Other states, such as California, are lagging behind in test results due to the lack of kits in their facilities. Norton Healthcare says test results are taking longer than expected due to increased nationwide testing.

The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio says that in-hospital patients who are very ill or at high risk usually receive their results within 24 hours. However, patients tested in a drive-through facility will get their results back in five to 10 days.

Once your results are available, your doctor will contact you to let you know if you have tested positive or negative for the coronavirus.

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What if I test positive for the coronavirus?

If the results come back that you are infected with COVID-19, make sure to let everyone you know you have been in close contact with in the past two weeks. Ask your doctor about the next steps and continue to isolate yourself at home. We have some guidelines for taking care of for yourself if you are infected with the virus.

The CDC says you can get out of the house if you haven't had a fever (without medication) for at least 72 hours, symptoms like coughing have improved, and at least seven days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.

For more information on coronavirus testing, see here how to find a coronavirus testing site near you and checking waiting times eligible for COVID-19 testing and why you can't use a coronavirus home test kit yet.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care professional if you have questions about a medical condition or health goals.


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