You should get tested for COVID-19 if you have any symptoms — even if you have had the COVID-19 vaccine — or if you spent time with someone who has symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 days.
You should also get tested for COVID-19 if you:
If you do NOT have COVID-19 symptoms, but were exposed to someone with COVID-19, you do not need to get tested if:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) self-checker or the Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) COVIDCHECK are available to help make decisions on when to call their doctor or seek appropriate medical care regarding COVID-19.
Call your primary care provider to discuss your symptoms and get scheduled for a test. Some primary care providers are set up to test their patients on site. Others are referring patients for testing by appointment at other locations such as Respiratory Clinics and drive-up testing sites. Your primary care provider will talk with you about the best place for you to get tested. They will also let you know how you can get your test results.
COVID-19 testing sites are available in Fairfax and the surrounding jurisdictions. Use this document to find a testing site in the Fairfax Health District or search for a testing site in Virginia near you.
Residents who exhibit COVID-19-like symptoms and do not have access to testing options available in the community may schedule an appointment for testing at a Health Department clinic. Call the call center at 703-324-7404 to schedule a testing appointment.
Testing at the Health Department is reserved for people who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Testing is not for routine testing, travel, return to work or school, or proof of negative test for other purposes.
Many of the locations in the document above offer testing for uninsured patients. 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.
The time between when a specimen is collected and when you receive your results can vary depending on the laboratory conducting the testing. With the exception of some rapid tests, it could take up to a few days, or sometimes longer to get your result, so be sure to check with your provider in advance.
While you are waiting for your test results:
See 3 Key Steps to Take While Waiting for Your COVID-19 Test Result to learn more about what to do while you are waiting.
Employers should not require employees to provide a negative COVID-19 test result or a healthcare provider’s note to enable them to return to work. An employee can return to work once either of the following situations is met.
A negative virus test result should not be required because healthcare providers are extremely busy and may not be able to provide such documentation in a timely manner; and because the test may remain positive long after an individual is no longer contagious (unable to spread illness). This is because the test may detect dead virus particles that cannot be spread to others. People who are immunocompromised should check with their doctor before returning to work and healthcare workers should check with Occupational Health provider. This guidance is consistent with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).
Employers shall notify their employees and the Health Department of any reports they receive of positive COVID-19 tests by employees, subcontractors, contract employees, and temporary employees present at the place of employment within the previous 14 days from the date of positive test. This is in accordance with the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Program and the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry, Emergency Temporary Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention related to COVID-19. Cases should be reported using this form.
If you have any questions, please contact the Health Department’s Call Center at (703) 267-3511.
There are two types of testing available for COVID-19:
Type 1: Diagnostic tests.
There are two types of diagnostic tests: molecular tests, such as RT-PCR tests that detect the virus’s genetic material, and antigen tests, that detect specific proteins on the virus. These tests indicate if you have a current infection. Diagnostic tests most often involve a nasal or throat swab. However, there are some new diagnostic tests available with alternative methods, such as a saliva test. Test results may remain positive for days to more than a week.
Type 2: Serologic (or antibody) test.
These tests are conducted to detect COVID-19 antibodies, which your body makes in response to an infection.
There are two types, one tests for recent infection (IgM) and one tests for past infection (IgG). The performance of these tests varies. These tests are conducted using a blood specimen. IgM becomes positive 4-10 days after infection & IgG becomes positive 10-20 days after infection. Depending on when someone was infected and the timing of the test, the test may not find antibodies in someone with a current COVID-19 infection.
Antibody blood tests, also called serology tests, may show if you had a previous infection with the virus. However, medical science has yet to determine what level of antibodies confirm immunity or how long immunity might last. Until there is more definitive information, we should assume, even with positive antibodies, that a person may still be susceptible to the coronavirus.
An antibody test also should not be used to diagnose COVID-19. To see if you are currently infected, you need the viral test.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is warning the public about potential fraud schemes related to antibody tests for COVID-19. Scammers are marketing fraudulent and/or unapproved COVID-19 antibody tests, potentially providing false results and seeking to obtain individuals’ personal information and personal health information. Not all COVID-19 antibody tests have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and their efficacy has not been determined. Learn more about this FBI warning.
Virginia Department of Health: VDH's COVID-19 Testing page
Virginia Department of Health Testing locations: COVID-19 Testing Sites
Virginia Department of Health: What to Expect During Your Test
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: CDC's Testing for COVID-19 page
U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Coronavirus Testing Basics
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