How To Get A COVID Test As Omicron Threat Rises
With the increase in coronavirus cases and the increased threat of the Omicron variant, testing for COVID-19 has become more common.
Many families planning vacation events use both home and outdoor testing to make sure it is safe to gather together.
There are hundreds of testing sites in Southern California, and rapid test kits can be purchased at drugstores or ordered online.
“If you’re going to be inside, you should all get tested before showing up to this rally,” said Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County director of public health.
Testing at sites operated by LA County is free, regardless of immigration status. Residents of Orange County can request free self-collection test kits sent to them, and residents can submit samples to the lab in an envelope with prepaid shipping.
“Even if you are fully vaccinated, get tested before or after gatherings or parties… a control program.
Here is the information to get tested:
A positive test
If you have symptoms, health officials say you should get tested. A negative rapid test result may look promising, but Terashita suggested that a symptomatic person follow this test with a PCR test, in which a sample should be sent to a lab for analysis, with the results coming back within one to two days.
Anyone who is symptomatic – even those with a negative rapid test – should stay home and away from others, Terashita said. Rapid tests can cause a small number of people to test negative when they are actually positive for the virus.
If a rapid test is positive, “you should consider yourself infected and isolate yourself immediately,” Terashita said. You may consider having the rapid test followed by a PCR test to confirm the infection.
It is irresponsible for people who test positive to continue to go out and leave the house without meeting the isolation requirements, Ferrer said.
People who test positive should stay home for at least 10 days after the onset of their symptoms or, if there are no symptoms, at least 10 days after the test.
Here are some guidelines from Los Angeles County:
- Talk to your doctor about which test is right for you.
- If you need to be tested for screening purposes, such as for work or travel, make sure that you get a test that meets the requirements of your employer, airline, or other institution.
- Before taking a test, make sure you know:
- What type of test is offered to you (NAAT or antigen).
- How long will it take to get your results.
- How you will experience the results.
- What precautions should you take while waiting for your results and what to do if your result is positive or negative.
- After receiving your test result, make sure that you understand what your result means and what to do next. You should receive an information sheet about the test you received. If you haven’t, request one.