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How do I find a coronavirus test site near me and check the waiting times?


Getty / Paul Biris
Visit the WHO website for the most current news and information about the coronavirus pandemic.

Access to reliable and accurate coronavirus assays can help control the spread of COVID-19 and eventually the reopening of the US and regain a sense of "normal". So how do you find a test location near you, and is it even possible to find out what the waiting time is, so you don't be in a car or tent or waiting room all day?

Unfortunately, these are not easy questions to answer yet – but it is a topic we are following, and we will update this story regularly as new information comes up. The first thing to know is that the country has seen a shortage of tests, even though new, faster test methods are emerging . A number of companies are also developing home tests . By the way, this is what you need to know about testing for antibodies, antigen and serology .

While the CDC provides guidance, decisions about who should be tested and how is ultimately left to national and local health services, and often to individual physicians. Because it is believed that most people who contract the virus experience mild symptoms and recover at home, they are advised not to leave the house to get tested the CDC notes. However, if you're experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus and want to find a test site near you, here's how to do it.

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Finding a COVID-19 Test Site Near You

All US states now offer COVID-19 tests, although availability varies by location. You must first call your doctor or a telemedicine service . They will tell you if they think you need a test and how to get it. Or you can visit the websites of your national health service or local health department to find the latest testing information in your area.

A handful of states – including New York, Connecticut and California – offer drive-through testing sites. But many of them require a doctor's decision or an appointment (although officials in New York have said that those without a doctor's letter will not be turned down).

More testing supplies are becoming available, but it can still be difficult to find a place to get tested, according to the CDC. If you have an iPhone ($ 699 at Apple) there is another option: This week added Apple coronavirus testing sites to its Maps app for iPhone and those sites are now starting to appear. Providers can add their test locations by visiting register.apple.com/covid-19.

The type of COVID-19 test you take may differ depending on where you go: National and local public health departments have tests from the CDC, while other medical providers are given tests developed by commercial manufacturers, according to the CDC .

Can you check the waiting time?

Hours of waiting times at many drive-through test centers, clinics, and even virtual doctor's offices have frustrated people in many cities across the United States. Calling a doctor or clinic in advance is the best choice to make an appointment and not have to wait – potentially infecting others. (The CDC recommends to wear a face cover when going out in certain areas, even if it is a homemade mask . In some places, masks are even mandatory . )

Unfortunately, for drive-through test centers, there is often no other way to find a waiting time than to show up. You can check your state or local health department's Twitter or Facebook accounts to see if there are any updates (for example, when Colorado offered drive-through testing, the Department of Public Health & Environment tweeted waiting times ) .

Many drive-through test centers have a fixed number of tests per day, so it is a good idea to arrive early if possible.

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After you are tested, you are encouraged to isolate yourself until you get results over the phone (although some clinics may return the results while you wait). However, how quickly you get those results depends on where you live. Thousands of people have waited for more than a week for results due to a backlog of tests.

For more information about the coronavirus, here what to do if you or someone you live with gets coronavirus what you need to know make a face mask or cover it at home and five things not to do when quarantine quarantine and lock ends .

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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