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How to seek testing for coronavirus according to state health departments

By newadmin / Published on Sunday, 15 Mar 2020 06:16 AM / Comments Off on How to seek testing for coronavirus according to state health departments / 11 views



If you think you may have the coronavirus and want to get tested, figuring out where to go can be confusing and challenging. The availability of coronavirus tests in the United States is changing rapidly and depends on where you live. NBC News reached out to all 50 state health departments for information on how they are handling testing and what recommendations they have for people seeking tests.

The general advice is the same nationwide: Call ahead to your doctor or a health care facility if you are concerned you may need to be tested. Based on your symptoms and exposure, they will decide if you need to be evaluated in person and may confer with state authorities about where and how to do the testing. They will give you instructions on how to arrive in a way that limits exposure. Medical facilities and doctors offices ask that everyone call ahead so they can make arrangements to protect others when people come in for testing.

All states now have a public health lab testing for coronavirus, and an increasing number of commercial and academic labs are testing as well. Results times vary and health departments may not know how long they may take for tests performed in private labs.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Some state health departments have hotlines the public can call for more information, and all have websites that are being frequently updated. For specific details about your state, find it on the drop-down menu below. NBC News will continue to update this list as we receive responses from more states.

For information about testing nationwide, see the CDC’s website, which is updated daily.

Alabama

  • Call a health care provider if you are concerned you need to be tested – these include physician practices, emergency departments and urgent care centers. They will help you make arrangements for testing without exposing others.
  • If you do not have a healthcare provider, you can call 1-888-264-2256. In the event the line is busy, the department asks that callers try again.
  • Patients must meet the state’s criteria to be tested, which evaluates a combination of symptoms and risk factors.
  • Health care providers can order tests as they see appropriate.
  • Results should be available in 24 to 72 hours.
  • For more information, the public can call Alabama’s 211 system by dialing 2-1-1 or texting 888-421-1266—or visit the Alabama Department of Public Health’s coronavirus webpage.

Alaska

Arizona

  • Call your health care provider if you have symptoms and are concerned. If you do not have a regular provider, you can call an urgent care center.
  • Patients must meet the state’s criteria to be tested, which evaluates a combination of symptoms and risk factors.
  • The Arizona State Public Health Lab and several private labs including SonoraQuest, Mayo, LabCorp and Arup are conducting testing in the state.
  • Results are typically available 24 hours after they are received by the public health lab.
  • For more details, you can call the Arizona information line by dialing 1-844-542-8201 or visit the Arizona Department of Health Services’ website.

Arkansas

  • Call your health care provider if you are symptomatic to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing. If so, your provider will consult the Arkansas Department of Health about if and how to conduct testing.
  • If you do not have a regular provider, call the nearest health care facility that can provide an evaluation or call an emergency room if you are in need of emergency care.
  • The state typically only tests people who are symptomatic. Test results are available approximately 24 hours after they arrive at the state lab.
  • There is some private lab testing in the state, which may have a different turnaround time for results and do not require approval by the state department of health.
  • For more coronavirus information, call 800-803-7847 or visit the Arkansas Department of Health’s website.

California

  • Call your health care provider or local public health department to be evaluated for testing if you are symptomatic, may have had contact with a person with coronavirus, or recently traveled to countries that have community spread.
  • As of March 13, California had 18 public health labs testing for coronavirus, with three more expected to be offering tests by next week. There are some private labs testing as well, though the state is not tracking their testing data.
  • For a patient to be tested by a public health lab, their provider must contact the local public health department for approval and instructions.
  • Most test results are available within 48 to 72 hours. The state has requested all labs notify the Department of Public Health about positive results.
  • For more coronavirus information, visit the California Department of Public Health’s webpage.

Colorado

  • Call your health care provider if you are concerned you need to be tested. People who are uninsured or do not have a doctor’s referral can go to the drive-up testing lab during open hours, where they will be directed to a nurse or epidemiologist on site to be assessed.
  • Patients must be symptomatic to be tested and meet the state’s criteria, which evaluates a combination of symptoms and risk factors.
  • Colorado’s state public health lab is conducting drive-up testing. There is also a private lab conducting tests, with two more expected to begin next week.
  • Test results from the state lab should be available within 72 hours, depending on testing volume.
  • For more coronavirus information, call the CO HELP line at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911 or visit the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s webpage.

Connecticut

Delaware

  • Call your health care provider if you are concerned you need to be tested. If you do not have a primary care doctor, call the Delaware Division of Public Health’s call center at (866) 408-1899.
  • The state is only recommending testing for people with symptoms.
  • If a provider determines someone should be tested, they collect the samples and send them to the state’s public or private lab. Approval from the Division of Public Health is required for testing at the state public health lab, but not for commercial lab testing.
  • Results from the Division of Public Health’s laboratory are typically available within 24 hours. Commercial lab results times may vary.
  • For more coronavirus information, visit the Delaware Division of Public Health’s website; call the Delaware information line by dialing 1-866-408-1899; or email dphcall@delaware.gov. TTY users should dial 1-800-232-5460.

District of Columbia

  • The District of Columbia has a coronavirus website that provides information on symptoms, and procedures for calling your health care provider or DC Health.
  • NBC News reached out to DC Health with additional questions and is awaiting a response.

Florida

  • Call your health care provider or county health department if you are symptomatic to determine the need for testing.
  • To be prioritized for testing, patients must meet the state’s criteria, which evaluates a combination of symptoms and risk factors. Their samples will be sent to the closest laboratory.
  • If you don’t meet priority criteria, you can discuss with your provider about possibly getting tested at a commercial laboratory (e.g. LabCorp or Quest).
  • State lab results are generally available within 24-48 hours. Commercial labs can take three to four days. Turnaround time can for all be affected by demand.
  • For more coronavirus information, call the Florida information line at 866-779-6121 or visit Florida Department of Health’s website.

Georgia

  • Call your doctor or local health department if you are symptomatic to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing.
  • Your health care provider will consult with the Georgia Department of Public Health to determine if you need to be tested.
  • To be prioritized for testing at the Georgia Public Health Laboratory, patients must meet the state’s criteria, which evaluates a combination of symptoms and risk factors.
  • Patients who don’t meet priority requirements can consider testing at commercial labs.
  • For more information, visit the Georgia Department of Public Health’s website.

Hawaii

  • Residents are advised to call a health provider if they have symptoms and have been to areas where the virus is prevalent or have been in contact with someone who is sick.
  • The provider will determine if they should be tested based on the state’s criteria.
  • The state’s public health lab is conducting tests with authorization from the Department of Health. Tests are also being conducted by the Tripler Army Medical Center lab, which does not require department authorization.
  • Test results are typically available within a day.
  • For more information, visit the Hawaii Department of Health’s coronavirus website.

Idaho

  • Call your health care provider if you believe you need to be tested.
  • Any provider can request a test from the state, as long as they meet CDC infection control requirements for collection. However, not all providers in the state are set up to meet those requirements, according to the Department of Health.
  • Test results are usually available 24 hours after they are sent to the state lab.
  • There are four private labs conducting tests in the state that may have different response times.
  • For more information, call 2-1-1 or your local public health district, or visit Idaho’s coronavirus website.

Illinois

  • Call your health care provider if you are symptomatic to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing.
  • Providers determine whether a test is necessary based on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s criteria, which evaluates a combination of symptoms and risk factors.
  • After a provider sends samples to the public health lab, results should be available approximately 24 hours later.
  • Commercial labs are starting to run tests, but those results must be sent to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s laboratory for confirmation.
  • General questions about COVID-19 and Illinois’ response can be answered over the phone at 1-800-889-3931 or via email at DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV.
  • The Illinois Department of Public Health has a website with coronavirus information.

Indiana

  • Call your health care provider if you are symptomatic to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing.
  • The provider must have authorization from the Indiana State Department of Health in order for the test to be evaluated by the department. High risk individuals, including those who have been hospitalized with severe respiratory illness who have tested negative for other respiratory illnesses, will be prioritized. The results are typically available within 24 hours.
  • Individuals who are not high risk are encouraged to consult their provider about possible private testing.
  • For information about coronavirus in Indiana, check the Indiana State Department of Health’s website. You can also direct general questions about COVID-19 to the department’s Epidemiology Resource Center at 317-233-7125 [317-233-1325 after hours] or e-mail epiresource@isdh.in.gov.

Iowa

  • Call your health care provider if you are symptomatic to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing.
  • Any provider can order a test if a patient meets the state’s criteria, which include:
  • a person who has traveled to a country with a level 3 CDC travel health warning or has taken an international cruise in the two weeks prior to becoming ill with fever and respiratory symptoms (who do not have an alternative diagnosis)
  • a person with household contact with a lab-confirmed COVID-19 case in the two weeks prior to becoming ill with fever or respiratory symptoms
  • hospitalized adults older than 60 with fever and respiratory symptoms and chronic medical conditions
  • hospitalized people with fever and respiratory failure, with no alternate diagnosis
  • Test results from the State Hygienic Lab should be available in approximately 24 hours. Private lab results times may vary.
  • For more coronavirus information, call Iowa’s 211 system or visit the Iowa Department of Public Health’s website.

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

  • Call your doctor if you are symptomatic, who will consult with the state department of health about if you should be tested.
  • If so, the doctor will arrange for you to come in so they can take swabs and submit them to the state public health lab.
  • The state is only testing people who meet the CDC’s definition of “person under investigation,” and the state health department must approve before testing can be done.
  • Test results are usually available within 24 hours, depending on the volume of tests that day.
  • On Monday, state testing capacity quadrupled after the FDA approved the use of automated testing for the state public health lab.

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

  • Call your health care provider if you have symptoms to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing.
  • Providers do not need approval from the Mississippi State Department of Health to send samples to the public health laboratory, but priority is given to high-risk patients and those with the most severe symptoms.
  • The department does not recommend testing anyone without symptoms.
  • For information about coronavirus in Mississippi, check the Mississippi Department of Health’s coronavirus website. You can also call the hotline Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at (877) 978-6453.
  • NBC News is in contact with the Mississippi Department of Health about testing and is awaiting additional information.

Missouri

  • Call your health care provider if you are symptomatic to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing.
  • To be tested by the state public health laboratory, patients must meet the state’s criteria, which evaluates a combination of symptoms and risk factors.
  • Patients who don’t meet these requirements can consider testing at a commercial laboratory. The approximate cost of the commercial test is $199.
  • State lab results are generally available within 24 hours. Commercial labs take approximately three days.
  • For more details, the public can call the Missouri 24-hour coronavirus hotline by dialing 877-435-8411 or visit the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ website.

Montana

  • Call your health care provider to discuss whether you are a candidate for testing before appearing in person. If you do not have a primary care provider, you can call a community health center or urgent care clinic about getting tested.
  • Providers are testing according to CDC guidance, with a focus on people exhibiting symptoms that could indicate COVID-19. Providers do not need department approval to administer a test, but the department consults on cases as necessary.
  • Test results from the state public health lab are typically returned daily.
  • For more coronavirus information, visit the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services website or contact your county or tribal health department.

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

  • Call your health care provider to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing.
  • To decide whether you need testing, providers refer to the CDC criteria, which evaluates a combination of symptoms and risk factors.
  • Providers collect specimens before sending them to labs for analysis.
  • Testing is conducted by the New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories.
  • Results are generally available within 24 hours.
  • You can find more coronavirus information on the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ website.

New Jersey

  • Call your doctor or local health department to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing. Patients who don’t have a primary care doctor can call a federally qualified health center or emergency department.
  • To decide whether you need testing, providers refer to the CDC criteria, which evaluates a combination of symptoms and risk factors.
  • Specimens are tested by New Jersey’s Public Health and Environmental Laboratory and results are generally available within 24 to 48 hours.
  • Patients who don’t meet priority criteria can discuss testing at commercial labs with their provider.
  • For more coronavirus information, visit the New Jersey Department of Health’s website.

New Mexico

New York

  • Individuals with symptoms who may have traveled to areas of concern or have been in contact with somebody who has traveled to these areas should call ahead to their health care provider before seeking treatment in person.
  • Health care providers determine whether a test should be done. Patients must meet the state’s criteria to be tested, which evaluates a combination of symptoms and risk factors.
  • New York state had 28 public and private labs conducting testing, as of March 13.
  • The state’s public health lab can complete a test in three to five hours.
  • For more information, call 1-888-364-3065 or visit the New York Department of Health’s website.

North Carolina

  • Call your doctor or local health department to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing.
  • Patients must meet the state’s criteria to be tested, which evaluates a combination of symptoms and risk factors.
  • Testing is conducted by the North Carolina Laboratory of Public Health and commercial labs.
  • You can find more coronavirus information on the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ website.

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

  • Call your health care provider if you are symptomatic to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing. If you do not have a provider, you can call the coronavirus call center at 877-215-8336.
  • To decide whether you need testing, providers work with the Oklahoma State Department of Health and refer to the CDC criteria, which evaluates a combination of symptoms and risk factors.
  • Only the state lab is currently conducting tests.
  • Results should be available within 24 to 48 hours.
  • For more coronavirus information, visit the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s website.

Oregon

  • For information about coronavirus in Oregon, check the Oregon Health Authority’s website.
  • NBC News has reached out to the health authority with questions about testing and is awaiting a response.

Pennsylvania

  • Call the state hotline at 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) if you think you may need to be tested. A public health professional will speak with you and determine if and where you should go for testing, such as the hospital or doctor’s office, and can then coordinate arrival at the healthcare facility to ensure you, the healthcare workers, and other visitors to the facility are all properly protected to prevent further exposures.
  • The state typically only tests people who are symptomatic. If you are not symptomatic, decisions are made on a case by case basis.
  • Pennsylvania has both public and private labs that can conduct tests. The state public lab requires approval by the health department for testing.
  • Results from the state lab can be available in less than a day — testing takes on average four to six hours.
  • For more coronavirus information, call 1-877-724-3258 or visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website.

Rhode Island

  • Call your health care provider if you are symptomatic to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing.
  • Testing is decided on a case by case basis, considering symptoms, travel history and contact history.
  • In general, asymptomatic people are not being tested.
  • Specimens are collected by the provider, then sent to the Rhode Island Department of Health’s State Health Laboratories for analysis.
  • Results are generally available within 24 to 48 hours.
  • You can find more coronavirus information on Rhode Island Department of Health’s website.

South Carolina

  • Call your doctor or health care provider to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing.
  • They will consult with the state health department to determine if testing is necessary based on the state’s criteria, which evaluates a combination of symptoms and risk factors.
  • Clinicians collect specimens before sending them to labs for analysis.
  • Testing is conducted by the South Carolina Public Health Laboratory and two private labs, LabQuest and LabCorp.
  • Results from the state lab are generally available within 24 hours.
  • For more information, call the South Carolina coronavirus information line at 1-855-472-3432 or visit the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s website.

South Dakota

  • Call your health care provider if you are symptomatic to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing.
  • To be tested at the public health laboratory, patients must meet the state’s criteria, which evaluates a combination of symptoms and risk factors. The state has three priority levels for patients.
  • Specimens are collected by the provider. They are then sent to the public health laboratory.
  • Results could take up to 48 hours.
  • For more information, call the South Dakota coronavirus information line at 1-800-977-2880 or visit the South Dakota Department of Health’s website.

Tennessee

  • Call your health care provider if you have symptoms to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing. If you are symptomatic but don’t have a healthcare provider, you can call your county health department and be referred to a clinic for evaluation.
  • The public health lab is prioritizing symptomatic people with travel to high-risk areas, and those with contact to a laboratory-confirmed case or who are critically ill with no alternative diagnosis.

  • If your provider decides to test you, your samples can be collected at most health care facilities, then sent to the state laboratory for analysis. If you don’t meet priority criteria, you can consider using a commercial laboratory.

  • Tests performed by the state lab have to be approved by the Tennessee Department of Health. Private labs do not require approval.

  • Results from the state lab should be available within 24 to 48 hours. Turnaround time can be affected by demand.

  • The Tennessee Department of Health has a coronavirus website with updated information on the number of cases in the state, and guidance on travel and community events.

  • Call the department’s COVID-19 public information hotline at 877-857-2945 for more information about the virus. It is available daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. CST.

Texas

  • Call your health care provider if you are symptomatic to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing.
  • To be tested by the public health laboratory, patients must meet the state’s criteria, which evaluates a combination of symptoms and risk factors. Public health testing also requires the local health department’s approval.
  • Patients who don’t meet priority requirements can consider testing at commercial labs.
  • Turnaround time for results depends on where the test is done and when it was sent.
  • For more information, visit the Texas Health and Human Services Department website.

Utah

  • If you believe you may have COVID-19, call the Utah coronavirus information line at 1 (800) 456 – 7707.
  • More information is also available on the state’s coronavirus website.
  • NBC News reached out to the Utah Department of Health with additional questions about testing and is awaiting a response.

Vermont

  • Call your health care provider to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing.
  • Providers determine whether a test is necessary based on the state’s criteria, which evaluates a combination of symptoms and risk factors.
  • The state will ensure that anyone who meets the medical requirements for testing can do so at no cost.
  • Your health care provider will arrange for testing. Specimens are collected at hospitals and clinical labs. They are then sent to the Vermont Department of Health Lab for analysis.
  • Results are generally available within 24 to 48 hours and are reported to the hospital or clinical lab where the test was collected.
  • For more coronavirus information, visit the Vermont Department of Health’s website.

Virginia

  • Call your health care provider if you are symptomatic to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing. Do not go to your local health department for testing.
  • Your provider will work with your state or local public health department and the CDC to determine if you need to be tested.
  • To be tested at the public health laboratory, patients must meet the state’s criteria, which evaluates a combination of symptoms and risk factors. Alternatively, patients can consider testing at commercial labs, which don’t have set requirements and don’t need an approval from the state department.
  • Results from the state’s public health lab are generally available within 24 hours.
  • For more coronavirus information, visit the Virginia Department of Health’s website.

Washington

  • Call your health care provider to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing.
  • Currently, there are no restrictions on who can be tested, however, it’s up to the provider to decide.
  • Sample collection is done at the provider’s office. Samples are then sent to facilities such as the Washington State Public Health Lab or the University of Washington Virology Lab for analysis.
  • Results are generally available within 24 to 48 hours. Turnaround time can be affected by demand.
  • For more information, read the Washington State Department of Health’s medium article on testing or visit the department’s coronavirus website.

West Virginia

  • Call your health care provider to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing.
  • To decide whether you need testing, providers refer to the CDC criteria, which evaluates a combination of symptoms and risk factors.
  • Specimen collection is done at the provider’s office. Samples are then sent to the state’s public health lab. Commercial testing is expected to begin soon.
  • For more information, visit the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ website.

Wisconsin

  • Call your health care provider to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing.
  • To decide whether you need testing, clinicians refer to the CDC criteria, which evaluates a combination of symptoms and risk factors. Clinicians canorder tests without health department approval.
  • Tests are conducted by the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene and Milwaukee Health Department Lab. More private labs are also coming online.
  • Test results are generally available within 24 to 48 hours.
  • For more information, visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ website.

Wyoming

  • Call your health care provider to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing.
  • To be tested by the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory, patients must meet the state’s criteria, which evaluates a combination of symptoms and risk factors. Clinicians can order tests without health department approval.
  • Patients who do not meet priority requirements can consider testing at commercial labs.
  • Providers collect specimens and send them to the public health lab or commercial labs for analysis.
  • Results from the public lab are generally available within 24 hours. Turnaround times for commercial labs are currently unknown.
  • For more information, visit the Wyoming Department of Health’s website.