COVID-19: Testing

Who should get tested?

Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 or who has been exposed to COVID-19 should get tested. If you think you need to get tested:

  • Contact your doctor to ask if your primary health care clinic is providing testing.
  • Complete an online health screening assessment, and a licensed health practitioner will contact you.
  • Find a local community testing site. Testing at these sites are provided at no cost. Some locations may require a doctor’s note or appointment to receive a test.

COVID-19 Even if you have only one symptom. Get Tested.

 


Tested for COVID-19 at a Community Testing Site?

What should I do after I get tested?

While awaiting COVID-19 test results, you should continue to take steps to keep yourself and others safe and follow recommendations to self-isolate and self-monitor in order to protect yourself and your community from COVID-19.

Can I get an antibody test?

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.

Community testing sites are not providing antibody testing at this time. If you would like an antibody test, contact your doctor to ask for one.

Were you 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 the results hotline at 1-866-419-6988.

What is antibody testing?

Antibody testing uses a blood sample to look for proteins in your blood that help fight infection. These proteins, or antibodies, are produced by your body during and after an infection. Testing your blood for antibodies can determine if you have had COVID-19 at some time in the past. Antibody testing should not be used to determine if you currently have COVID-19.

How does antibody testing work?

Antibody testing works by looking for antibodies to COVID-19 in your blood. Antibodies are produced by your body to help fight off an infection. If antibodies are found in your blood, it can mean that you have had COVID-19 in the past.

Can antibody testing be used to diagnose COVID-19 infection?

No. Antibody testing is not used to determine if you currently have COVID-19. It can take one to three weeks for your body to make antibodies to an infection. This means that you can have COVID-19 without having antibodies present in your blood. A different type of testing that detects the virus directly is used to diagnose COVID-19.

Can an antibody test tell me if I am immune to COVID-19?

No. Antibody testing can determine whether antibodies are present in an individual’s blood. It cannot determine that an individual is immune to or protected from future COVID-19 infection. It is currently unknown if antibodies provide protection or immunity against COVID-19.

Can antibody testing be used to inform workplace decisions, such as who can safely return to work or who does or does not need to use personal protective equipment?

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 an individual’s blood. We don’t know yet whether having antibodies means that a person is immune to or protected from future COVID-19 infection. 

Why is antibody testing beneficial?

Antibody testing can be beneficial in several ways:

  • Data from antibody testing can help researchers build greater knowledge of COVID-19, including understanding how many people have been infected, what the prevalence is within communities, and how the virus spreads, among other research questions.  
  • Antibody testing can support an experimental treatment for individuals who are ill with COVID-19, known as “convalescent plasma therapy.” People who are identified as having antibodies to COVID-19 can donate plasma, which is being studied as a treatment for people with current COVID-19 infection. 
  • Antibody testing can also be used by scientists to assess the response of the body to vaccines as they are being developed.

Are antibody tests reliable?

Antibody testing can produce results with varied reliability. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several commercially manufactured antibody tests for use, the reliability of these tests is still being evaluated by the CDC and other federal agencies. 

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Logo for Resilient Wisconsin: Connected. Stronger. Thriving.Getting tested for COVID-19 is a great way to take care of yourself and those around you. But it’s important to recognize that COVID-19 doesn’t just impact a person’s physical health. Stress, anger, worry, and other strong emotions are a natural response to traumatic events like the COVID-19 pandemic.  Learn healthy ways to cope and where to go for help if you feel overwhelmed during this time.

Last Revised: October 1, 2020