Why You Should And How To Get A COVID-19 Test

COVID-19 tests are not something you should avoid if you feel you need it. Testing is usually fast and easy, and most people experience little or no discomfort. However, you may be confused about the three different types of tests or whether you need to get one at all. Here is more information about COVID-19 testing, why you should get one, and what they will tell you.

Who Should Get a COVID-19 Test?

You don't have to show symptoms or be sick to get a COVID-19 test. Anyone can get a test for any reason. Many people carry the virus without having any symptoms. However, if you think you have symptoms, then definitely get tested. If you are in a high-risk occupation that puts you at a higher risk of being exposed, then get tested regularly.

The CDC also recommends anyone who thinks or has been told they have possibly been exposed to get tested. If you were within six feet of a confirmed infected person for a cumulative total of fifteen minutes or more, then you need to be tested.

What Are the Different Types of COVID-19 Tests?

Three types of COVID-19 testing are available. All three types of tests are considered accurate under normal circumstances when all directions and protocols are followed.


Molecular tests are the standard COVID-19 test most people get. The nasal cavities or back of the throat are swabbed to detect the virus's genetic material. The results are usually available within a day or two, depending on testing volume.


Antigen tests are done through a nasal swab. This test detects certain proteins from the virus. The results are often very quick, sometimes within minutes. Positive results are usually accurate, but there is a chance of a false negative. You may need a follow-up molecular test to confirm negative results. New and improved tests are being developed, including at-home rapid tests.


Antibody tests involve taking a blood sample. This test looks for antibodies from previous exposure to the virus. You can get results within a day, but sometimes they may take longer. You may need more than one test because antibodies often don't show up until several days or longer after exposure. Antibody tests do not diagnose a current COVID-19 infection, however.

If you think you've been exposed to COVID-19, or are experiencing symptoms, then self-quarantine until you get your test results. You shouldn't have to wait long in most cases. Currently, if you need to get tested, you can have it done in your doctor's office, clinic, or an official COVID-19 testing center.

For more information about COVID-19 testing, contact a local doctor.