COVID-19 Testing General Information
SHOULD YOU GET TESTED?
If you are interested in being tested, please contact your primary care provider first.
It’s always best to work with your regular doctor to determine the kind of care you need — just as you would with any other health care concern. Unless you have specific symptoms, exposures or risk factors, you may not need to be tested. Your primary care provider can talk with you and help decide if you need to be tested.
For more information on whether you should get tested, visit our frequently asked questions.
Keeping up to date on testing for COVID-19 can be challenging. We're sharing the latest recommendations from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LAC DPH). You can also visit the County's COVID-19 Testing website to view frequently asked questions and other information.
How to Get Tested
- Contact your regular doctor first to ask for a COVID-19 test. If you do not have a regular health care provider, call 2-1-1 or visit the 211LA website.
- If you cannot get a test through a regular health care provider, free testing by the County is available. Please use the County's COVID-19 Testing website to find a testing location. Having an appointment helps reduce wait times and helps ensure the County has enough staff and testing supplies available.
- L.A. Care members in our L.A. Care Covered ™ and PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers health plans may obtain up to eight (8) over-the-counter COVID-19 rapid antigen tests per month at no cost, either through an L.A. Care network pharmacy or L.A. Care’s mail order pharmacy. Medi-Cal beneficiaries may obtain up to eight (8) over-the-counter COVID-19 rapid antigen tests per month at no cost through pharmacies enrolled as Medi-Cal Rx providers. Learn more about this over-the-counter test kit benefit. Coverage for the at home test kits will remain in effect for the duration of the Public Health Emergency.
- If testing shows you do not have COVID-19, this isn't a reason to stop protecting yourself and others. A COVID-19 test does not guarantee that you do not have the virus; a false-negative test is possible. Also, even when accurate, a test result only shows whether you had the virus at the moment you took the test. You could become positive at any time, and exposure to COVID-19 could happen immediately following your test.
- Regardless of test results, you will still need to follow LAC DPH quarantine and isolation orders if you are exposed to someone with COVID-19 or if you start having symptoms.
At this time, LAC DPH highly recommends testing for both of these groups:
TESTING IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR:
People With Symptoms
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19, contact your regular health care provider and get tested.
People Without Symptoms if they
- were asked by the L.A. County Department of Public Health to get a test because of a contact tracing or outbreak investigation
- were in "close contact" with someone who has COVID-19 in the past 2 weeks
- are working or living in places such as skilled nursing facilities, group homes, residential care facilities, correctional facilities or homeless shelters
- are experiencing homelessness
- are essential workers with frequent contacts with the public in these sectors: health care, emergency services, food and grocery, retail or manufacturing, public transportation and education. View a complete list of the essential worker's group from the California Department of Public Health.
- don't have symptoms but believe you may be infected now because you were exposed to people who were sick, were around many people who were not wearing face coverings, and/or were not keeping safe distance in the past 2 weeks
If you want to learn more about testing, visit:
- County of Los Angeles COVID-19 website — for testing appointments and answers to common questions
- LAC DPH COVID-19 Testing — for the basics on testing and details on types of tests
Frequently Asked Questions
Testing is highly recommended for:
- Those who have symptoms: If you have symptoms of COVID-19, talk to your healthcare provider and get tested.
- Those who have been in close contact to someone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 (a case) within the last 14 days. Even if your test is negative, you will still need to complete your quarantine.
- Those with or without symptoms who are part of an outbreak response or contact investigation in high risk settings, such as nursing homes, congregate living facilities, correctional facilities, or persons experiencing homelessness.
- Those without symptoms who believe they may be currently infected should consider getting tested.
For instance, if in the past 2 weeks you were around many people who were not wearing face coverings and/or not keeping a safe distance such as at your workplace or other indoor space.
Testing is not recommended for those who have had a positive COVID-19 test in the last 90 days and do not currently have symptoms of COVID-19.
There is no minimum or maximum age limit for COVID testing.
L.A. County residents should first call their health care provider for a COVID-19 test. If you cannot get a test through your provider, those who live in LA County, regardless of immigration status, can apply for an appointment for a drive-through or walk-up test by visiting the L.A. County website or by calling 2-1-1. You can also get a test at some pharmacies. Check with your local pharmacy. Some sites offer same-day appointments or no appointment walk-in testing.
For PASC-SEIU, L.A. Care Covered, and L.A. Care Covered Direct members who are essential workers, if the lab/labs available to your provider or specialist have not provided sufficient test kits for the provider or specialist to use in his/her practice, you can attempt to schedule a testing appointment at one of the City/County Community test sites listed at their website.
Access additional questions and answers on signing up for a test.
You can obtain your test results from the Provider’s or Specialist’s office that performed the testing. If you were tested at another location (other than your Provider or Specialist office) the City and County have partnered with Healthvana, a secure patient web portal to send your COVID-19 test results to you.
Email notifications will be sent to the email address you provided at the time of registration. Please be sure to check your inbox and spam folders on a regular basis.
If you do not have email, Healthvana will notify you via telephone when your result is ready:
- For mobile phone numbers, you will be contacted via text message.
- For landlines, you will receive a phone call.
- The Non-Medical Transportation (NMT) benefit is only available to L.A. Care Members (Medi-Cal and Cal MediConnect)
- Transportation reservations generally require 24-48-hour notice. Same-day requests may be accommodated based on vehicle and driver availability.
No, there is no cost for screening and testing for COVID-19.
L.A. Care covers the cost when the test is ordered by your provider or specialist who has determined that the test is medically appropriate.
For PASC-SEIU, L.A. Care Covered, and L.A. Care Covered Direct members who are essential workers, L.A. Care covers the cost of the test with or without a provider’s or specialist’s order.
Yes, COVID-19 testing is covered. Authorization is not required.
The benefit and recommended frequency of testing is still not known. If you are desiring additional testing, please contact your provider’s or specialist’s office or one of the City/County community test sites to arrange for a test.
L.A. Care and its delegated providers cover the cost when the test is ordered by your provider or specialist who has determined that the test is medically appropriate for Medi-Cal and Cal MediConnect members.
For all other members (PASC-SEIU, LACC/LACCD), L.A. Care covers the repeat test for essential workers or when the test is ordered by your provider or specialist who has determined that the test is medically appropriate.
Be careful. Cyber actors may send emails with malicious attachments or links to fraudulent websites to trick victims into revealing sensitive information or donating to fraudulent charities or causes.
- Exercise caution in handling any email with a COVID-19-related subject line, attachment, or hyperlink, and be wary of social media pleas, texts, or calls related to COVID-19.
- Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency encourages individuals to remain vigilant and take the following precautions:
- Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments. See Using Caution with Email Attachments and Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Scams for more information.
- Use trusted sources—such as legitimate, government websites—for up-to-date, fact-based information about COVID-19.
- Do not reveal personal or financial information in email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information.
- Verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations. Review the Federal Trade Commission’s page on Charity Scams for more information.
- Review CISA Insights on Risk Management for COVID-19 for more information.
Employer-mandated screening for safety reasons outside of the criteria determined by your provider or specialist, is not required to be covered by a health plan for Medi-Cal and Cal MediConnect members.
For all other members (PASC-SEIU, LACC/LACCD), L.A. Care covers the cost for essential workers or when the test is ordered by your provider or specialist who has determined that the test is medically appropriate. Please contact your provider’s or specialist’s office or one of the City/County community test sites to arrange for a test.
Antibody tests for COVID-19 are available through healthcare providers and laboratories. Check with your provider to see if they offer antibody tests and whether you should get one.