- It depends on where you are: different states have different guidelines
- Seek medical attention if you develop symptoms
- Doctors (not patients) have plenty of leeway to decide who gets tested
While tests for coronavirus are becoming more widely available, it is still somewhat difficult to get a test depending on what state you live in. Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about who should be tested is focused on individuals with fever and lower respiratory illness. The strongest recommendations for testing from the CDC are for healthcare workers, older individuals who are most at risk, and people who have been hospitalized for symptoms which are compatible with COVID-19. Those symptoms include fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath.
Most states will require that you visit your primary physician, emergency room, or urgent care clinic that can order clinical exams for strep throat and influenza to eliminate them as possible diagnoses—but if you’re feeling sick, remember to call your doctor first before you do anything else. These entities may determine that you still do not meet the criteria and decline to test you for coronavirus, recommending that you stay home.
If you have additional concerns about how and where you can get tested for coronavirus, contact your local health authority or the CDC for further information.