Testing for COVID-19 is an essential tool for stopping the spread of the disease and reopening Seattle and King County.
Free testing is available in King County regardless of immigration status.
Who should get tested for COVID-19?
- Anyone with these symptoms should contact a healthcare provider or a testing site to discuss the need for testing:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches, headache
- Loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
- Anyone who has had close contact for more than 15 minutes with someone who has the virus.
- If you think you have COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who does, STAY AWAY FROM OTHERS AND GET TESTED.
How can I get tested?
If you don’t have a doctor, call the King County COVID-19 Call Center at 206-477-3977 for assistance. The center is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you need an interpreter, say the name of your language.
If you have a doctor or healthcare provider, call them to get a test.
Can I get tested if I don’t have medical insurance or a doctor?
Yes. Free or low-cost testing is available at several King County locations regardless of immigration status. Multiple languages are spoken and phone interpretation is available at each site.
Why is testing important?
If you know you have COVID-19, you can protect your family, friends and community from getting the virus by keeping apart from others. The sooner you get tested, the better.
What happens when you get tested?
The test requires a simple swab of the nose or throat. Your doctor or test center will send the swab to a lab for processing, which can take several days.
Do I need to stay away from others while I await test results?
Yes. You should keep apart from others, even in your household as much as possible. Stay away from others, even if you are not showing symptoms, because the virus can spread before symptoms appear. If you have no safe place to stay apart from others, King County can help. Call the COVID-19 Call Center at 206-477-3977. The line is open from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m.
What do I do if I receive a positive result?
You must stay away from other people until you are better. Use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if possible. If not, stay at least six feet apart from others while sleeping or talking. If you have no safe place to stay apart from others, call the county’s Covid-19 Call Center at 206-477-3977. The line is open from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m.
If I have a negative test but have been close to someone with the virus, do I need to quarantine?
Yes. If you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, stay away from others for 14 days. It can take up to two weeks for symptoms to appear.
We know that people can spread the virus even when they don’t have symptoms. Because you had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 while they were contagious, there is a chance that you have it too, even if your test came back negative.
Unfortunately, a negative test does not necessarily mean that you are not infected. The test result only means that you did not have COVID-19 at the time of testing. The test is not 100% accurate, and it may provide a false negative result, especially if the sample was collected too early in your infection. It typically takes 5 – 7 days after exposure for the test to report more accurate test results.
When will I get my test results?
It can take several days to receive test results, and times will vary depending on which lab is processing your test. You will receive notification from your health care provider or tester as soon as the results are available.
Will I be contacted by the health department if I test positive?
You might receive a call from state or county health officials if you test positive. The caller will help figure out if you have exposed family, friends or co-workers to the virus. They will not ask about your immigration status, social security number or finances. Any information they collect will only be shared with public health professionals who are working to contain the virus. The caller can also help connect you to any support you might need.