Coronavirus (COVID-19) Testing

When to Get Tested

Reasons to get tested for COVID-19 include: 

  • You have COVID-19 symptoms 
  • You have known or suspected close contact to someone with COVID-19. Get tested to check for infection at least 5 days after close contact. 
  • For screening (schools, workplaces, congregate settings, etc.)
  • Before and after travel
  • When asked by a healthcare professional or public health official

Testing Options

Find a Testing Site

COVID-19 testing sites are available in Fairfax and the surrounding jurisdictions. 

Use this Virginia Department of Health (VDH) tool to search for a testing site in Virginia near you, or, visit one of the Health Department Mobile Testing clinics listed below.

At-Home Testing

At-home testing allows a person to collect a specimen and perform either a molecular or antigen test at home according to directions provided with the kit.

Getting an at-home test:

  • At-home tests can be purchased at pharmacies and other retailers.
  • Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests from the federal government. The program allows 3 orders of free at-home tests (16 tests total) per residential address. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days. You can order these free tests through the federal government website COVIDtests.gov. Order your tests now so you have them when you need them.
  • Individuals who purchase tests commercially (at a store or online) may also submit receipts for reimbursement through their private insurance plans starting Saturday, Jan. 15. Private health insurers are now required to cover up to eight at-home tests per month. Contact your insurance company to learn more.

Order free home tests and learn more about reimbursement at COVIDtests.gov.

At home tests tips:

  • Store all test components according to the manufacturer’s instructions until ready for use.
  • Check the expiration date. Do not use expired tests or test components that are damaged or appear discolored based on the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Clean the countertop, table, or other surfaces where you will do the test.
  • Do not open test devices or other test components until you are ready to start the testing process.
  • Have a timer ready because you may need to time several of the test steps.
  • Read test results only within the amount of time specified in the manufacturer’s instructions. A result read before or after the specified timeframe may be incorrect.
  • Don’t reuse test devices or other components.

Learn more about at home testing from the Virginia Department of Health.

 

Contact a Health Care Provider

Call your health care provider to discuss your symptoms and get scheduled for a test. Places such as urgent care centers, community health centers, and community-based clinics across the region also offer testing.

You can search for a location using the VDH testing site search tool or by calling a provider directly. Most clinics are set up to swab patients for testing on-site and some offer drive-up and walk-up testing options. 

 

Get tested by the Health Department

Health Department Clinics

The Health Department offers COVID-19 testing at its clinics to people who have symptoms; those who do not have access to testing options available in the community; those identified as close contacts; and for those returning from international travel. Appointments are required. Call 703-324-7404 to schedule a testing appointment. 

Health Department Mobile Testing - New Dates!

The Health Department's mobile laboratory provides testing in locations throughout the county for individuals’ who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Date & Time

Location

Additional Information

Wednesdays

June 1, 8, 15

9am – 3pm

New Grand Mart

6255 Little River Turnpike
Alexandria, VA 22312

Walk-up

See details below

Thursdays

JUNE 2: CANCELLED

June 9, 16

9am – 3pm

Richard Byrd library

7250 Commerce St
Springfield, VA 22150

Walk-up

See details below

Important Things to Know about the Health Department's Mobile Testing Service Before You Go

The Health Department’s Mobile Testing service is for people who have symptoms of COVID-19 and for those who have been identified as a close contact. Here is what you need to know before you visit.

  • There are two types of tests offered at our mobile laboratory: rapid and traditional RT-PCR. Rapid tests are approved for use on symptomatic individuals. RT-PCR tests are recommended for asymptomatic people.

    If you have COVID-19 symptoms, a rapid test will be recommended for you. Rapid tests are processed on site and results are available the same day. Negative rapid tests are sent back to our laboratory for confirmation by RT-PCR testing process.

    If you do not have COVID-19 symptoms, a PCR test will be recommended for you. PCR tests are sent back to our public health laboratory for processing and typically take about 72 hours to receive results.

  • “Rapid testing” does not mean “fast.”

    A rapid test involves a nasal swab that must be processed quickly after collection. The processing takes 30 minutes, and then more time is required for uploading the client information and results. Since we have limited equipment for processing tests at the mobile laboratory unit, and specimen collection timing must be precise, you should be prepared to wait if you are seeking a rapid test. Results will be made available that day or the next day for rapid tests.

  • You receive your results via a personal phone call and text message.

    After your test, you will receive a phone call from a member of our team with your result. You will also receive a coded text message to alert you to your result.

  • If you need a printed or emailed report, we can give you one.

    Printed rapid test results can be made available the same day by the mobile clinic. There will be at least 90 minutes between test and receiving the printed result. Please plan accordingly if you wish to wait for a result.

    If you want your report emailed to you, please bring two forms of identification to your test. One form must be a photo ID. 

  • There are no doctors or nurses at our testing site.

    Laboratory scientists and support staff are on site at the mobile laboratory. We are unable support health care paperwork that needs to be completed by a doctor or nurse.

  • We will be there, rain or shine.

    These mobile lab services are provided outdoors, please dress appropriately for all weather. 

  • Remember, there are many places across Fairfax County to seek COVID-19 testing.

    Use this VDH tool to search for a testing site in Virginia near you. 

Sites are selected, based on Health Department data, to increase access to testing in areas within the county with higher numbers of cases and limited testing resources or clinics. Dates, times and locations will be updated as information changes. 

While waiting for your COVID-19 test result, stay home and away from others if you:

  • Have symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of your vaccination status; or
  • Live with someone with COVID-19 and you are not up to date on your vaccinations; or
  • Have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and you are not up to date on your vaccinations; or
  • Were told by a healthcare provider or a public health official to stay home.

What if My Test is Positive?

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 there are some important steps that you need to take:

  • Stay home and away from others
  • Tell your close contacts

Treatments are Available

If you are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19, effective treatment is now available that can prevent illness from becoming worse leading to hospitalization and death. 

Several types of treatment are available, which may be used at different times or in different groups of patients. Talk with your healthcare provider to get more information about the range of options.

Here are three things to know about

  1. If you test positive and are an older adult or someone who is at increased risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, treatment is available. Contact a healthcare provider after a positive test to determine if you are eligible for treatment, even if you only have mild or moderate symptoms. You can also visit a Test to Treat location and, if eligible, receive a prescription from a provider at that location.
  2. Follow CDC guidance on testing for COVID-19. Find a testing location that can provide treatment if you test positive using the Treatment Locator or by calling 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489).
  3. Don’t delay: Treatment must be started within the five days of when your symptoms began.

Medications to treat COVID-19 are free, even if you do not have health insurance. While there is no cost for tablets (such as Paxlovid), there may be a co-pay for infusion or injection of a monoclonal antibody product. For those using the Test to Treat program at a pharmacy clinic, health insurance, including Medicaid, also will pay the cost of the consultation. If you do not have health insurance, you would be responsible for the consultation fee.

Learn more about COVID-19 Treatments and Medications.

If You Don’t Have Insurance

If you do not have a primary doctor, and you are concerned that you have symptoms of COVID-19, you can contact HealthWorks (703-443-2000) or Neighborhood Health (703-535-5568) to be evaluated and schedule a testing appointment. New patients are accepted with or without insurance and on a sliding scale fee if low-income and uninsured. Priority is given to patients with symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

HealthWorks provides COVID-19 testing free for uninsured patients who meet eligibility for the sliding scale fee and do not already have another primary doctor. Patients should call 703-443-2000 to get a telehealth evaluation by a medical provider prior to scheduling a test.

Neighborhood Health provides COVID-19 testing free for uninsured patients who meet eligibility for the sliding scale fee. Patients should call 703-535-5568 to get a telehealth evaluation by a medical provider prior to scheduling a test.

Inova Cares Clinics for Families provides primary care services for patients with Medicaid or low-income uninsured patients up to 400% Federal Poverty Guideline and offers limited COVID-19 testing.

The Fairfax Health District has many low-cost health care resources for individuals who lack health insurance. See: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Health Care Options for the Uninsured

You can also call our Coordinated Services Planning service at 703-222-0880, TTY 711 (Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) to talk with someone about your needs and receive advice on services available to you.

 

Types of Tests

There are two types of testing available for COVID-19. COVID-19 tests can detect either SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, or antibodies that your body makes after getting COVID-19 or after getting vaccinated. Learn more about the types of tests available: 

VDH

CDC:

 

Additional Testing Information and Related Resources

When to Isolate and When to Quarantine

Guidance for Parents of School-aged Children

Virginia Department of Health:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Coronavirus Testing Basics

HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR): Test to Treat

Fairfax Virtual Assistant