Get tested for COVID-19 if you...

  • Have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, at least 5 days after exposure.
  • Would like to stop wearing a mask sooner than 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19. 
  • Are about to travel or recently returned home from traveling.
  • Are about to attend or recently attended a gathering where exposure to COVID-19 was possible.
  • Have been asked to test by your employer, school, or healthcare provider.

You can always call your healthcare provider to find out if you should be tested. If you do not have a health care provider and need help finding one, visit the Mecklenburg County Public Health (MCPH) for information. You may also call the MCPH hotline at 980-314-9400. More guidance on testing is available from the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS).

Get the facts and get vaccinated

Skip testing for COVID-19 if you...

  • Had COVID-19 in the past 90 days and recovered, unless you develop new symptoms.

About COVID-19 Testing

There are two types of COVID-19 tests that can show if you are infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. These tests DO NOT measure anitbodies, so they cannot show if you already had COVID-19 or if you have immunity to COVID-19:

  • Antigen tests, often called "rapid tests," are good to use for a quick check before spending time with high-risk and vulnerable family members:
    • Fluid is collected from the nose or mouth using a swab, either by a provider or by yourself at home.
    • The fluid on the swab is tested on site; results are given within 15 minutes.
    • The expiration dates for many brand of at-home rapid tests have been extended. Before throwing away a kit whose expiration date has passed, check the FDA's At-Home OTC COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests page to look up new expiration dates for your test kits.
  • Molecular tests, often called "PCR tests," are thought to give a more accurate result than rapid tests:
    • Fluid is collected from the nose or mouth using a swab, either by a provider or by yourself at home.
    • The fluid on the swab is sent to a lab; results are given within a few days.

For a list of approved test kits, instructions for using at-home tests, and how to understand your results, visit the NC DHHS How to Test for COVID-19 at Home page. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Self-Testing page offers additional information about taking at-home tests.



Find On-Site Testing and At-Home Test Kits

Unless you need immediate medical attention, avoid going to an emergency department to get tested for COVID-19. Emergency departments are busy with people experiencing medical emergencies who need immediate medical attention:

  • Find locations to get tested on site or pick up FREE test kits near you. If you have proof of insurance, on-site testing and test kits may be FREE. Always call or visit the provider's Website to make sure the address, hours, and services listed are correct:
  • Order FREE at-home test kits through the mail:
    • Visit COVID.gov/Tests or call 1-800-232-0233 to order 4 FREE at-home test kits from the federal government to be delivered by mail.
    • Visit the NC DHHS Website to order 5 FREE at-home test kits from the state government to be delivered by mail.


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