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Testing for COVID-19: Who, When and Where

Infographic describing Testing for COVID-19

As COVID-19 cases rise and reach Ohio, we wanted to clear up any confusion you might have around testing for the disease.

Who gets tested?

Medical professionals will assess and determine if someone needs to be tested for COVID-19. It’s recommended you call your health care provider before going to a hospital, urgent care or emergency room.

Most confirmed COVID-19 patients have a fever and/or symptoms of respiratory illness, like coughing and difficulty breathing. Other possible symptoms include chills or shaking, muscle pain, headaches, sore throat, fatigue, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea or a new loss of taste or smell. Additional factors that could determine if someone is tested include close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset, or a history of travel from affected geographic areas. You can see all COVID-19 Travel Health Notices on the CDC website.

As of June 2020, Ohio now allows people without COVID-19 symptoms or a medical need to get tested. However, OhioHealth will continue to only test patients who have a provider’s order. If you do not have a provider’s order and would like to get a COVID-19 test, visit the Ohio Department of Health’s COVID-19 site for more information. Check our testing page to find out how OhioHealth handles COVID-19 testing.

How do you get tested?

Testing for COVID-19 includes collecting an upper respiratory tract specimen. That could mean a swab in your nose or mouth.

Where do you go to get tested?

Call your physician if you suspect you have symptoms and have traveled to an area currently designated with a Level 2 or Level 3 travel warning or had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, they will then decide if you need to be seen by a doctor and order a test if needed.

What do you do if you get a positive test result?

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19, and not all patients will require hospitalization or medical care. For most, you’ll want to treat your symptoms until the virus runs its course.  If you are not sick enough to require hospitalization, information on how to take care of yourself and protect others will be provided to you while you stay home until you are no longer contagious.

The information in this article was updated August 6, 2020, and aligns with advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For the latest information about the new coronavirus, visit the CDC’s website. If you’d like to learn more about testing at OhioHealth, check out our testing page

Go to COVID-19 Toolkit page on blog