Register for testing at a Community Test Site
If you were exposed to COVID-19
Understanding your test results
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. Patients with COVID-19 have experienced mild to severe respiratory illness, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel (new) coronavirus. It is not the same as other types of coronaviruses that commonly circulate among people and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet or fewer for a total of 15 minutes over a 24-hour period) through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Who needs a COVID-19 test?
If you have symptoms, test immediately. If you were exposed to COVID-19 and do not have symptoms, wait at least 5 full days after your exposure before testing. If you test too early, you may be more likely to get an inaccurate result. If you are in certain high-risk settings, you may need to test as part of a screening testing program. You may consider testing before an event or contact with someone at high risk for severe COVID-19, especially if you are in an area with a medium or high COVID-19 Community Level.
Confirmatory PCR tests are no longer required for BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests. Either PCR or BinaxNOW test results will suffice for testing for COVID-19 for both asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals. This does not apply to anyone who lives in a congregate setting, such as long-term care facilities, correctional and detention facilities, homeless shelters and other group shelters. These congregate settings should still follow CDC’s outlined protocols for antigen testing.
Frequently Asked Questions about testing:
- Where can I get more information on at-home tests?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has several resources available. Visit the At-Home Over the Counter COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests page for information, including a list of FDA-authorized at-home tests and expiration date extensions. Visit the Counterfeit At-Home Over the Counter COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests page for an updated list of alerts on how to identify counterfeit tests, signs that the test may be counterfeit and what to do if you have a counterfeit test.
- What should I do if I think I need a test?
If you think you need a test, follow the CDC’s testing guidance. You can schedule an appointment at a testing site on the map or use an at-home test. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), call 911.
If you have a medical appointment, call your doctor’s office or emergency department, and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients. You can also consult a healthcare provider through telehealth, if that is an option.
- How can I get tested?
The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) continues to provide COVID-19 testing sites across the state.
While testing at most sites is free for everyone, some sites may charge a fee. Call ahead or check the clinic’s website if you are unsure. Even if testing is free at a site, bring your private health insurance information if you have it.
Mobile sites are state-run and will not charge patients for testing. Insurance is not required. However, if you have private health insurance, please bring that information with you.
- Can children be tested?
Children may be tested, but the age may vary by location. It is important for your child to remain still during the swabbing procedure to prevent injury to his/her nasal passages. Testing at state Department of Health sites for children ages 6 months to 2 years requires parental assistance. If your child has a condition that prevents adequate restraining, or is unable to be adequately restrained, our testing site cannot perform the test. The test site may also not be the best location for testing of children younger one year old. We recommend you contact your child’s primary care provider for testing in these situations.
- Should I have a serology/antibody test?
Antibody or serology tests look for antibodies in your blood that fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibody tests should not be used to diagnose a current infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. An antibody test may not show if you have a current infection, because it can take 1 to 3 weeks after the infection for your body to make antibodies.
Antibodies are proteins created by your immune system after you have been infected or have been vaccinated against an infection. They can help protect you from infection, or severe illness if you do get infected, for a period of time afterward. How long this protection lasts is different for each disease and each person. A positive antibody test does not guarantee that a person is immune because it is unclear how long and how effectively antibodies prevent reinfection.
- Where can I get a rapid antigen test?
Rapid antigen tests, or point of care testing, typically return results in approximately 15–30 minutes. Antigen tests for SARS-CoV-2 are generally less sensitive than real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and other nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) for detecting the presence of viral nucleic acid. Sites on the map with a red pin indicates site offers rapid antigen testing.
Schedule an appointment through the map, or walk-in if the clinic allows. Buy tests online or in pharmacies and retail stores. Private health insurance may reimburse the cost of purchasing self-tests. Visit FDA’s website for a list of authorized tests and expiration dates, which may have been extended beyond the date on the package.
- Where can I get more information?
Please call Indiana 211 (866-211-9966) if you have questions about COVID-19.
- Is there information available to help me know what my test results mean?
The CDC’s website can help you interpret your COVID-19 test results and provide guidance based on your individual circumstances.
If you test positive and are an older adult or someone who is at high risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, treatment may be available. Contact a health professional right away after a positive test to determine if you may be eligible, even if your symptoms are mild right now. Don’t delay: Treatment must be started within the first few days to be effective. Visit the Indiana COVID-19 Treatment page for more information and a map of sites offering treatment.