Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19
Note: this guidance is subject to change as the situation evolves.
Why can't my provider test?
There are many reasons. Your provider might not have sufficient supplies to test or a contract with a lab that has COVID-19 testing capabilities. Contact your health care provider or check the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and symptom checker.
Can I go straight to a lab?
No. In order to get tested, you go to your provider. Remember to call ahead before going in. Additionally, there may be community testing sites in your county.
Can I go straight to the emergency room?
Only if you are experiencing a life threatening or severe illness. The emergency room is not accepting patients only for testing at this time.
What are good practices to avoid infection?
Stay home. Avoid close contact with people by physically distancing at least six feet. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. If soap and water aren’t available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
What entities are testing in California?
There are three different testing points, this includes: county public health laboratories, commercial laboratories, and in-hospital laboratories. These are not open to the public. Individuals would have to have their health care provider order a test, and one of these three entities would run the test.
What is the current testing capacity?
The testing capacity across the state grows every day. As of March 30, approximately 86,100 tests had been conducted in California. This includes the latest numbers California has received from commercial and private labs. At least 28,704 results have been received and another 57,400 are pending. These numbers are provided by CDPH daily, and can be found on their website, here.
Should everyone get tested?
No. Only those who are symptomatic, are high risk, or meet the CDC guidelines, which can be found online, h ere. If you are not able to get tested, there are precautions you can take to keep yourself and your family healthy: (1) stay home pursuant to the state stay at home orders; (2) wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; (3) cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue; and (4) clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
What is the state doing to build additional testing capacity?
In collaboration with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services we are working to ensure that health care providers have the supplies to test, including swabs. Additionally, we are working with academic institutions, hospitals, and private partners to grow our capacity daily.
Do I need to get tested for COVID-19?
Are you experiencing: Fever, Coughing or Shortness of breath?
If yes, call your physician.
If your doctor advises you to come in, a specimen is collected via swab and sent to a lab to be tested. Your doctor will provide you with test results.
If your doctor identifies mild symptoms and advises home isolation, stay at home and self-isolate.
If you cannot get ahold of your doctor and you are experiencing severe symptoms, go to your local urgent care or emergency room, or call 9-1-1.
For more information, follow the California Department of Public Health: @capublichealth and www.caph.gov/covid19