The Fairfax County Health Department is encouraging anyone who has symptoms or an exposure to COVID-19 to get tested right away. There are currently nearly 30 sites across the Fairfax Health District offering COVID-19 testing for both insured and uninsured residents.
The novel coronavirus which causes COVID-19 illness is spread primarily through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing or talking. Anyone who develops symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, whether they’ve had a known exposure or not, should get a test. Those symptoms include cough, fever, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, headache, sore throat, or a new loss of taste or smell. People can use the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s self-checker or the Virginia Department of Health’s COVIDCHECK to help make decisions on when to call their doctor or seek appropriate medical care regarding COVID-19.
Testing is important for all of these reasons:
- To protect the people you care about: COVID-19 spreads easily from person to person and you do not want to make those around you sick.
- To know what you need to do to protect others: whether or not you have symptoms, there are actions you must take to prevent further spread in your home and in the Fairfax community. You may need to isolate yourself, or monitor yourself for symptoms. Members of your household and those who have been in close contact with you may need to quarantine.
- To help slow the pandemic in Fairfax: testing finds people who are positive and allows those individuals to take necessary steps to stop spreading the virus. We can take COVID-19 out of circulation and have fewer sick people if we keep doing preventive measures, get tested as appropriate, isolate the sick, and quarantine exposed individuals.
There are two types of testing available for COVID-19. A serology (antibody) blood test may tell you if you have been exposed to COVID-19 at some point in the past. But the serology test is not reliable for confirming an active infection, and medical science has yet to determine if having an infection in the past means you have immunity against the disease. The best test to identify a current COVID-19 infection, whether or not you have symptoms, is a viral diagnostic test.
For the viral test, a sample is taken by a provider or self-collected using a shallow nasal swab. With the exception of some rapid tests, it might take several days to get your test results. Stay at home and isolate yourself while you are waiting for your test results. The results from all COVID-19 tests are entered into the Virginia Electronic Disease Surveillance System, which allows public health staff in Virginia to receive, enter, manage, process, track and analyze disease-related data.
While a positive COVID-19 test may be inconvenient in the short-term, Fairfax County has resources available, if needed, to help those who may be temporarily out of work and away from others. From rental and food assistance to health care and housing, there are supports available to help you successfully isolate or quarantine. Call Coordinated Services Planning at 703-222-0880 to get connected.
Whether you have COVID-19 or not, you should always:
- Keep a 6-foot distance from others when you are out.
- Wear a cloth face mask in public settings or whenever you cannot avoid close contact with other people.
- Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with your sleeve or a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.
For up-to-date information and guidance for staying healthy and preventing the spread of COVID-19 go to the Fairfax County COVID-19 page.
This is a rapidly changing situation, and information is being shared as it becomes available.
- Visit the Health Department COVID-19 page
- Visit the Fairfax County COVID-19 page
- Text FFXCOVID to 888777 to receive updates from Fairfax County about COVID-19; text FFXCOVIDESP to 888777 for updates in Spanish
- Follow the Fairfax County Government Facebook Page and Health Department Facebook Page
- Follow @fairfaxcounty and @fairfaxhealth on Twitter