Can anyone get tested for coronavirus now? Here's who qualifies
Some counties are letting anyone get tested, while some are still limited. Here's what we know.
Katie TeagueWriter II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
ExpertisePersonal Finance: Social Security and taxes
Many facilities are transformed into COVID-19 testing sites, from drive-through test locations to medical centers. Getting a test, however, isn't always as simple as just showing up whenever you want. If you do, there's a chance you'll be turned away because facilities are overwhelmed or want to cut down on large groups milling around.
Having more access to the test kits will help allow cities and states to test more people. As a result, sites with a limited number of tests available are often reserved for higher-risk patients. For example, those with underlying health conditions or those exhibiting strong symptoms that are associated with COVID-19, such as trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest, confusion and bluish lips or face. More recent guidance from the CDC adds that obesity at any age and pregnant women are at a higher risk for increased coronavirus symptoms.
Each state has its own policies about testing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you contact your state health department to get more information. It can also let you know which testing site to visit.
Watch this: Vaccines, antibody tests, treatments: The science of ending the pandemic
When you should seek medical attention
Coughing, fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and loss of taste or smell are symptoms of coronavirus, but the CDC says that if you're having trouble breathing, that's a more serious symptom and an indication to seek medical attention. Other serious symptoms include pain or pressure in the chest, confusion and bluish lips or face.
You should also seek medical attention if you're considered a higher risk person -- aged 65 years and older, or someone with hypertension, heart disease, autoimmune disease, moderate to severe asthma, kidney or liver disease, diabetes, severe obesity or are pregnant.
CDC priorities for who gets tested first
The CDC has new guidance as of June 13 for the patients who should get tested for coronavirus first in areas where testing is limited.
Hospitalized patients with symptoms.
Health care workers and first responders.
Residents in long-term care facilities with symptoms, like prisons and shelters.
Individuals who live in large households, or individuals who live with someone who is high-risk.
Critical infrastructure workers.
Individuals 65 and older.
Individuals at high risk for severe disease.
Individuals with symptoms who don't meet any of the above requirements.
Individuals without symptoms who don't meet the above requirements.
What happens if I don't get tested and I think I have the coronavirus?
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.