Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Diagnosis & Tests

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and want to get tested, try calling your state or local health department or a healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider might also suggest either an at-home collection kit or an at-home test if you think you might have COVID-19 but you can’t get tested by a healthcare provider or public health official.

Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after being exposed to COVID-19. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Facts About COVID-19 Tests

You may be tested using the diagnostic test developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you receive a negative result, that means that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was not found in your sample. However, if you are in the early stages of infection, the virus may not be detected in your sample. If that is the case, you can still spread the virus to others, even if you do not have symptoms.

If you have symptoms but test negative for COVID-19, it is likely that COVID-19 is not causing your current illness.

The process and locations for testing vary from place to place. Contact your state, local, tribal, or territorial department of health for more information, or reach out to a healthcare professional. (State and local public health departments have received tests from the CDC while healthcare providers are getting tests developed by commercial manufacturers.)

Beware of Scam Testing

Some companies are setting up fake COVID-19 testing locations. These fake testing sites don't follow correct safety protocols, and collect personal information that can be used in identity theft. Make sure to get a referral for testing from your healthcare provider, or find a location on your state or local health department’s website. 

The FDA is actively and aggressively monitoring for any companies that may be selling products with false COVID-19 diagnostic, prevention, and treatment claims.

Last Updated August 2021