How-to-Get-Tested How to Get Tested for COVID-19

How to Get Tested for COVID-19

​​​​​​​Testing can help you know if you have COVID-19 so you can decide what to do next. You may want to get treatment​ to reduce your risk of severe illness and take precautions to lower your chances of spreading the virus to others. 

Testing and other preventative measures are especially helpful when: ​

Test at ho​​me​​​

​Plan ahead to have COVID-19 tests on hand before you get sick. You can test yourself at home and get results in fewer than 30 minutes. Read more about at-home tests:

Get test ​​kits

Free test kits if you ha​​ve Medi-Cal 

Get Medi-Cal card(s) for each person in your family. Each person with a Medi-Cal card can receive up to 8 free tests each month. ​

  • Go to a pharmacy or a store with a pharmacy.  

  • Go to the pharmacy co​unter where prescriptions are dropped off. Other registers in the store cannot provide free COVID-19 tests. 
  • ​Show your Medi-Cal card(s) and ask for 8 at-home COVID-19 antigen tests for each person. 

Read more: Three Easy Steps To Get Free COVID-19 Antigen Tests(PDF)

Test kits for those with priv​​ate ​​insurance, Medicare or Medicare Advantage

Most California insurance plans will pay or reimburse for 8 at-home test kits per month. Details are different for each plan; contact your provider for more information. Find out more at COVID-19 Coverage Changes (PDF)​.​​

Before you throw out “​​expired" tests

  • Most at-home tests can be safely used past the date on the box. Check the test kit to see if the expiration dates have been extended on the FDA's At-Home COVID-19 Test page.
  • Replace your tests with fresh ones as the extended expiration dates approach. If you have to, you can use expired tests until you can get new ones, as long as the control line is working. See your test instructions for details about the control line.

Find test sites nea​r you

Use these links to find testing sites near you:

Are you aware of your ​risk of severe illness?

​Testing is an option if you were exposed or have symptoms of COVID-19​. If you are at higher risk, then testing is recommended so you can get treatment.​

Risk factors for common respiratory viru​ses including COVID-19

​Anyone who belongs to one of the groups below is considered higher risk of infection or severe respiratory illness:

  • ​Older adults (over 50, and risk increases with increasing age)

  • Young children

  • People with weakened immune systems

  • People with disabilities

  • Pregnant or recently pregnant people

  • People with health conditions such as chronic lung disease (like asthma), heart disease, or obesity. Risk increases as the number of health conditions increases.

  • People living in a group or congregate care setting, such as a skilled nursing facility. Other high-risk settings are adult and senior care facilities, homeless shelters, emergency shelters (including cooling and heating centers), state and local correctional facilities and detention centers.

  • For additional information, see the CDC page regarding People with Certain Medical Conditions​ at higher risk for severe COVID-19.

If you visit a high-risk setting or ​​people at higher-risk 

Consider testing and masking before entering settings where persons at higher risk of severe disease are more likely to be present or in other settings when you are around people at higher risk of severe COVID-19 (for example, in skilled nursing facilities). 

For more information

​For more information on when to test, or what to do if you test positive, please visit the CDC page on COVID-19.​​