Do you have COVID-19 symptoms? Have you been in close contact with someone with COVID-19? If your answer is “yes” to either of these questions, it’s time to get tested. There are many ways to get tested for COVID-19 in Wisconsin. You can contact your doctor to ask if your primary health care clinic provides testing. You can find a free community testing site near you. You can also request a free at-home collection kit.
Note: If you are fully vaccinated, meaning its been at least two weeks since you have finished your vaccine series, and you do not have any COVID-19 symptoms, you do not have to get tested after close contact with someone with COVID-19.
Getting tested for COVID-19
See the basic information about COVID-19 testing, including when to get tested, how to get a test, what happens during and after a test, and when to get tested after you’ve been fully vaccinated.
Who should test
Get tested if you were in close contact with someone with COVID-19 or if you have any COVID-19 symptoms. It is important to know that you can still spread the virus to others even if you have mild or no symptoms. If you still aren’t sure if you should get tested, complete an online health screening assessment and a licensed health practitioner will contact you.
How to get tested for COVID-19
There are many ways to get tested for COVID-19 in Wisconsin.
- Contact your doctor or primary health care provider.
- Find a local community testing site. Testing at these sites is free. Some locations may require an appointment to receive a test.
- At-home specimen collection kits are available at no cost to Wisconsinites, regardless of symptoms or exposure.
- Contact your local or tribal health department for help finding a test.
What to expect
Some types of tests for COVID-19 require inserting a long swab (like a long Q-tip) into the nose and gently rotating it several times. The swabbing is then repeated in the other nostril. The test can be a little uncomfortable but is usually painless. The swab is then sent to a lab for testing. Other types of tests use saliva or throat swabs.
While you wait for your COVID-19 test results, self-isolate and monitor your symptoms, to keep yourself and others safe.
If you used an at-home COVID-19 collection kit, you will receive your results by email. If you were tested for COVID-19 at a community testing site, you will be notified of your test results by phone or email. If you have been waiting for more than five days for your results from a community testing site, call your local or tribal health department.
When to get tested after vaccination
If you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, meaning it’s been two weeks after you’ve received either a single-dose vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson, or the second dose of a two-dose vaccine like Pfizer or Moderna, you do not have to get tested after close contact with someone with COVID-19, as long as you do not develop symptoms and don’t live or work in a shared, communal, congregate living setting, such as a correctional facility or homeless shelter. If you live or work in one of these places or begin to develop symptoms of COVID-19, you should isolate from others and get tested.
You may need to be tested before or after you travel, even if you are fully vaccinated. Learn more on our travel page.
If you had symptoms of COVID-19 and have since recovered, or if you think you may have had it but did not show symptoms, you may be able to get an antibody test. Antibody tests will not tell you if you currently have COVID-19 but can let you know if you had it at some time in the past. Certain antibody tests (anti-spike protein) will become positive after vaccination. These tests cannot currently be used to determine if someone is immune to infection. Community testing sites are not currently providing antibody testing. If you would like an antibody test, contact your health care provider to ask for one. Learn about different types of COVID-19 tests.
- Antibody testing should not be used to inform workplace decisions, including return-to-work or personal protective equipment decisions. Antibody testing can only determine whether antibodies are present in your blood.
- Antibody testing should not be used alone to determine if you currently have COVID-19.
Resources on COVID-19 testing
Access a library of materials and resources that focus on how to get tested for COVID-19 and how to keep yourself and others safe.
Diagnosed with COVID-19?
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you should isolate to prevent the spread of COVID-19.