Should I Get Tested?
What to Know about Testing for COVID-19
COVID-19 tests are important tools for diagnosing COVID-19 infection. There are limitations to any test and these tests work best in diagnosing people who have symptoms of COVID-19 infection.
I don’t have symptoms and wasn’t exposed, should I get tested?
Consider holding off so that people with symptoms can get tested.
Someone I know has COVID-19, should I get tested?
If you were within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, then you should quarantine for 14 days from when you were exposed and stay separated from other people in your household. You don’t have to get tested if you don’t have symptoms. Get tested if you have symptoms — especially if you have obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic lung disease or other chronic conditions. Please do not go to the emergency department unless you have a medical emergency, such as difficulty breathing.
I might have been exposed to COVID-19, should I get tested?
You don’t have to get tested if you don’t have symptoms. If you do get tested, then wait at least 8 days from when you were exposed (longer is better). If you were within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, then you should quarantine for 14 days from when you were exposed and stay separated from other people in your household. Recent studies show there is a lower positivity rate in people who don’t have COVID-19 symptoms or who test too soon after exposure. If you develop symptoms, then get tested—especially if you have obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic lung disease or other chronic conditions. Find a list of testing locations. Do not go to the emergency department unless you have a medical emergency, such as difficulty breathing.
What kind of test should I get?
Testing locations listed here use the recommended test, which is a nasal swab or a coughing and throat self-swab. Blood tests cannot be used to diagnose COVID-19.
How will I receive my test results?
If you are tested at the Freeman Coliseum or at a Walk-Up Testing Site hosted by the City of San Antonio:
- You will receive a phone call if your test result is positive. The call will come from “SA Metro Health” on your caller ID.
- If your test result is negative, you will receive a text message. The text message notification of a negative result will include a link to download a form that states the result is negative. This is a temporary link so download the form as soon as possible and save it for your records.
- If you have not received your results within 72 hours, you can email email@example.com or call 833.213.0643 and provide your name and date of birth and your results will be emailed to you.
I was exposed and tested negative, now what?
If you were within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, then still stay in quarantine the full 14 days — even if your test is negative — because it can take that long for symptoms to show up.
I was exposed and tested positive, now what?
Metro Health will call you to begin your case investigation. The call will come from a 210-207-xxxx number and will read “SA Health Dept” on your caller ID. Please answer the call or return the call to help public health workers contain the virus. They may ask additional questions to complete the contact tracing process and the information that is shared is 100% confidential. They will never ask your bank account number or social security number. Call your close contacts to notify them of the exposure and make them aware of appropriate quarantine measures. Meanwhile, stay separated (in “isolation”) from other people in your household for at least 10 days, and contact your employer’s Human Resources department for other directions. See a medical provider if you have trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, trouble staying awake, or other warning signs.
I tested positive, when can I go back to work?
If you were tested because of symptoms, you can return to work after it has been 10 days since your symptoms started, your symptoms are better, and you haven’t had a fever for 24 hours even without taking fever reducing medicines. Most people don’t need a negative test to be cleared for work.
What else should I be doing?
Avoid crowds, keep a 6-foot distance, wear a face covering, and avoid touching your face without cleaning your hands first. Remember that people can pass on COVID-19 in the days before they feel sick, or without feeling sick at all. Monitor yourself for symptoms, and get tested if you have any — especially if you have obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic lung disease or other chronic conditions. Follow CDC and Metro Health guidance and for real-time updates, follow @SAMetroHealth on social media, watch daily briefings here, or text COSAGOV to 55000.
Employers should follow CDC guidance. Visit Business Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
Employers should not require a COVID-19 test result or a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or to return to work.
- Under the American’s with Disabilities Act, employers are permitted to require a medical provider’s note from your employees to verify that they are healthy and able to return to work. However, as a practical matter, be aware that healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely manner. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care and can follow CDC recommendations to determine when to discontinue home isolation and return to work.
- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has established guidance regarding Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The guidance enables employers to take steps to protect workers consistent with CDC guidance, including requiring workers to stay home when necessary to address the direct threat of spreading COVID-19 to others.
Read the letter from Metro Health about returning to work after being exposed.
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure (based on previous MERS-CoV virus incubation periods).
Self-screen before going into a business for any of the following new or worsening signs or symptoms of possible COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Symptom Checklist for all Individuals(PDF, 153KB)
Call your doctor if you develop symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or have recently traveled from an area with widespread/ongoing community spread of COVID-19.
Complete a self-screening questionnaire to see if you meet the criteria to be tested:
Take a self-screening