There are laboratory tests that can identify the virus that causes COVID-19 in respiratory specimens. State and local public health departments have received tests from CDC while medical providers are getting tests developed by commercial manufacturers. All of these tests are Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase (RT)-PCR Diagnostic Panels, that can provide results in 4 to 6 hours.
Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19. Here is some information that might help in making decisions about seeking care or testing.
CDC has guidance for who should be tested, but decisions about testing are at the discretion of state and local health departments and/or individual clinicians.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and want to get tested, try calling your state or local health department or a medical provider. While supplies of these tests are increasing, it may still be difficult to find a place to get tested.
CDC expects that widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States will occur. In the coming months, most of the U.S. population will be exposed to this virus. You should continue to practice all the protective measures recommended to keep yourself and others free from illness. See How to Protect Yourself.
Additional information: U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration FAQs on Diagnostic Testing for SARS-CoV-2external icon.
*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
For information on testing for healthcare professionals, see recommendations for reporting, testing, and specimen collection at Interim Guidance for Healthcare Professionals.