COVID-19: Get Tested
When to Get Tested
Here are some of the times when you would need to get tested for COVID-19:
- You have symptoms of COVID-19.
- You were in close contact with someone who had COVID-19 at the time (your timeline for how soon to get tested will depend on your vaccination status, see the recommendations here).
- You have been asked or referred to get tested by your school, workplace, healthcare provider, or local health department.
- You will be visiting someone who lives in a nursing home or other long-term care facility and/or is at risk for severe COVID-19 complications.
- You will be traveling internationally and a negative test is required.
- You are not fully vaccinated and are required to test regularly for work or school.
- You are not fully vaccinated and you are about to travel or traveled recently.
For the full list of times when testing is currently recommended, visit the VDH testing guidance page.
Please note, that this guidance may be different if you have recently had a COVID-19 infection, refer to the VDH guidance about what to do in that situation.
Where to Get Tested
Most listed locations accept insurance, and locations that do not accept insurance are noted. Find more information on free testing resources in the COVID.gov/tests "Other Testing Resources" section or by calling 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489). Check with your primary healthcare provider to see if they are offering tests; if your doctor does not have testing available, you can use one of the facilities listed below or consider picking up rapid home antigen tests at many local retailers and pharmacies. Please call ahead at the location you choose, to check that they have testing supplies available:
Free Rapid Home Antigen Tests from USPS
New orders made for free at-home COVID-19 tests are expected to ship the week of December 19, 2022.
Learn more at COVID.gov/tests.
Find more information on free federal testing resources in the COVID.gov/tests "Other Testing Resources" section or by calling 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489).
Alexandria Public Libraries
Free rapid home antigen tests are available at multiple APL branches. Please check the link above for info including locations and branch phone numbers, to call ahead about availability.
Curative PCR Testing Locations (Closing December 26, 2022)
Free PCR testing that is available to anyone, regardless of insurance status; ID is not required. Visit curative.com or call the Alexandria COVID-19 Hotline at 703.746.4988 for available appointments, walk-ups are also welcome. All Alexandria Curative COVID-19 testing kiosks are closing permanently on December 26, 2022.
*Inclement weather may delay curative kiosk openings or close them entirely, visit curative.com for weather-related closures and appointment availability.
Mobile Van @ Casa Chirilagua
4109 Mt Vernon Ave,
Ben Brenman Park Kiosk
4800 Brenman Park Dr.
Charles Houston Recreation Center Kiosk
901 Wythe St.
Neighborhood Health Clinics
Both PCR (3-5 days) and Rapid antigen (15 minutes) testing is available for free to existing patients. Most insurance accepted, but insurance is not required and discounts are available for those who need them. At this time, COVID-19 testing is limited to existing Neighborhood Health patients. For anyone who wants to become a patient of Neighborhood Health, please call 703.535.5568.
- 2 E. Glebe Rd.
1200 N. Howard St.
6677 Richmond Hwy.
Alexandria Immediate Care
PCR and rapid antigen testing available, but seeing a doctor (either virtually or walk-in) is required for testing. Most insurance accepted, but insurance is not required. Cost without insurance is $220.00 for the virtual visit and the PCR or rapid testing. Call 571.308.6776 or visit the website linked for an appointment.
- 6020 Richmond Hwy. #102
Patient First – Alexandria
PCR and rapid antigen testing available, but seeing a doctor is required for testing. Most insurance accepted, but insurance is not required. Without insurance, office visits start at $129.00 plus the cost of testing, due prior to receiving care. Testing without insurance is $53 for a rapid test and $100-109 for PCR. Call 703.647.6087 with questions.
- 6311 Richmond Hwy.
Nova Patient Care
PCR and rapid antigen testing available, but seeing a doctor is required for testing. Most insurance accepted, but insurance is not required. Expedited/next day results available with an added $45 fee. Cost without insurance starts at $125 for a doctor's visit, plus the cost of testing ($175 for PCR testing or $50 for rapid testing). Alexandria City locations are listed, but visit the website for other locations in the area and to schedule an appointment (or call 703.348.9111 and leave a message).
- 526 N. Henry St.
- 7609 Richmond Hwy.
Nova Urgent & Primary Care (Alexandria Health Care Center)
PCR and rapid antigen testing available, but seeing a doctor is required for testing. Most insurance accepted, but insurance is not required. Medicare not accepted. 1 to 2 day turnaround time for PCR tests and 20 minute turnaround time for rapid tests. Cost without insurance is $100 for a doctor’s visit, plus $150 for PCR testing or $75 for rapid testing. Call 703.847.9800 or visit the website for an appointment.
- 5249 Duke St. #100
Doctors to You
PCR and rapid antigen testing available for anyone who wants to get tested. This is a concierge house-call service, insurance is not accepted. Call 202.545.3300 or visit the website linked to make an appointment.
*$300 testing fee plus cost of house call.
Modern Mobile Medicine
PCR and rapid antigen testing available for anyone who wants to get tested, insurance accepted for laboratory PCR tests only. Without insurance PCR testing is $100, rapid (one-hour) PCR testing is $225, rapid antigen testing is $99. Costs are discounted for members, membership is $99. Call 888.765.1444 with questions.
CVS Minute Clinic
PCR and rapid antigen testing available for anyone who wants to get tested. Testing is free with most insurance, and $139 for PCR/$100 for rapid testing without insurance, with a 4 day turnaround time. Call the specific CVS location or visit the website linked to make an appointment.
- Multiple locations in the Northern Virginia and D.C. areas.
Juberi Medical Center
PCR and rapid antigen testing available for anyone who wants to get tested, doctor's appointment not required. Walk-ins welcome. Most insurance accepted, but insurance is not required. Without insurance, Rapid tests are $100 with a 30 minute turnaround time. PCR tests are $200 without insurance, with a 2 day turnaround. Call 703.997.9699 or visit the website linked for an appointment.
- 2817 Duke St.
AllCare Family Medicine & Urgent Care of Alexandria
PCR and rapid antigen testing are both available, but seeing a doctor is required for testing. Walk-ins welcome. Most insurance accepted and testing is free with insurance. Cost without insurance is $220 for the virtual visit and PCR or rapid test. Call 703.751.8800 or visit the website linked for an appointment.
- 6020 Richmond Hwy.
- 3117 Duke Street
Blue Nile Medical Center
PCR and rapid antigen testing are both available, but seeing a doctor is required for testing. Most insurance accepted, but insurance is not required. Cost without insurance is $85 for doctor visit and $150 for PCR or $40 for rapid antigen test. Call 703.845.0700 for appointments.
- 85 S. Bragg St., Suite 100
CN Internal Medicine
PCR and rapid antigen testing are both available, but seeing a doctor is required for testing. Most insurance accepted, but insurance is not required. Medicare not accepted. Visits are $150 for new patients and $75 for returning patients. Testing without insurance is $100-120 for PCR or rapid antigen testing, in addition to a $30 uninsured service charge. Test results in 48 hours for PCR tests and 15 minutes for rapid antigen tests. Call 703.212.9190 or visit the website for an appointment.
- 5226 Dawes Ave.
Medstar Health Urgent Care
PCR and rapid testing available, but a virtual visit with a doctor may be required for a testing referral if you have symptoms. Appointments required for all testing. PCR test results in 3 to 5 days. All insurance accepted, but insurance is not required. Cost for PCR testing is $50 without insurance. Call 703.845.2815 or visit the website linked for an appointment.
- 3610D King St.
Additional facilities in Virginia can be found on the Virginia Department of Health website.
Care and testing is available through providers all across Alexandria, whether or not you have insurance. Talk to the facility directly about identification requirements and whether you qualify for free or reduced cost care.
Test results provide information about one point in time. You may also become exposed to the virus or develop COVID-19 after your test, so keep practicing common sense safety measures like wearing a mask and washing your hands frequently.
Rapid home tests are antigen tests, which are a little less effective at detecting COVID-19 infections compared to PCR (molecular) tests. Because of this, and especially if PCR testing is unavailable, remember to take two rapid antigen tests a few days apart. When you are sick, take a test, and be sure to test again two days later if your first test is negative.
If your test is positive, follow the guidance below and read more about what to do on our next steps page, about what to do if you have or were exposed to COVID-19.
When Should I Use a Rapid Home Test vs a PCR COVID-19 Test?
Here’s the bottom line: when COVID-19 cases are surging, any test is better than none. But if you have options, here are the best times to use each type of test:
Going to an indoor or crowded event?
A rapid home test on the same day is best.
Went to a crowded event or other high risk situation?
A rapid home test or PCR test 3-5 days after the event.
Going to be travelling by plane?
Timing and test type depends on the airline's requirements, but PCR tests are preferred.
Have COVID-19 symptoms but you are not a close contact?
A PCR test is best, but rapid home test is fine, take either as soon as symptoms start.
Have COVID-19 symptoms and you are a close contact?
A PCR test is best, but rapid home test is fine, take either as soon as symptoms start.
Informed you're a close contact of someone with COVID-19 but don't have symptoms?
PCR preferred, but rapid home test is fine. Take either 5 days after exposure.
Understanding Test Results:
- A positive home or PCR test result means you have the virus. Follow Alexandria Health Department’s guidance on what to do if you are sick and isolate from others. Next, notify any close contacts. If you must be in contact with others, wear a mask and practice physical distancing to reduce the risk of getting other people sick.
- A negative rapid home test result means that the test did not detect the virus and you may not have an infection, but it does not completely rule it out. You should repeat the test at least 24 hours later to increase confidence that you are not infected.
- If you have a negative rapid home test followed by a positive rapid home test or PCR test, your first test may have been incorrect or done too soon after exposure, and you should assume you are positive. If you took the test while you had symptoms and followed all instructions carefully, a negative result means your current illness is probably not COVID-19, though it does not completely rule out a COVID-19 infection.
A Positive Test Result
You may receive a call from a case investigator at the Health Department, to figure out who your close contacts are and to connect you with needed resources while you stay home. Read more about contact tracing here. If you do not get a call due to the current surge, do not wait to take these steps!
Regardless of your vaccination status, begin isolation:
- Day 1 to 5: Stay home and away from others.
- If you have symptoms, day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms started.
- If you never had symptoms, day 1 is the first full day after your positive test.
- Day 6 to 10:
- If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving, you can leave your house. Continue to wear a well-fitting mask to reduce any risk of infecting others. If you have a fever, continue to stay home until 24 hours after your fever resolves.
- Notify your close contacts. Close contacts are people who were within 6 feet of you for more than 15 minutes in the two days prior to your symptoms or test date. Tell them “I recently tested positive for COVID-19, so you should get tested and wear a mask.”
- If you attended an event or gathering, notify the organizer.
- If you work, notify your supervisor.
- If you attend school or other activities, notify the principal or designated COVID-19 contact person.
Ask for help if you need it to stay at home during your isolation. You can get food, rent assistance, or other support by calling the Alexandria COVID-19 Hotline on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 703.746.4988
You can not “test out” of isolation. You cannot stop your isolation early, even if you test again and receive a negative result before five days have passed.
It is critical to monitor your symptoms after a positive test because while most people may have mild symptoms, COVID-19 can become severe regardless of age or underlying conditions. Seek medical attention immediately or call 911 if you develop trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest; new confusion; bluish lips or face; or inability to wake or stay awake. If you seek medical care, call ahead and tell them that you have COVID-19.
A Negative Test Result
A negative test likely means you were not infected with COVID-19 at the time your specimen was collected. However, a negative test does not mean that you will not get sick.
It also is possible to be early in your infection when your sample is collected and get a negative result then test positive later. This is more likely to be the case with some variants, such as Omicron. You can also be exposed later and then develop illness.
If you were instructed to quarantine due to an exposure to COVID-19, you should not end your quarantine early because of a negative test.
Have an Expired Home Test?
If you have test kits at home that are expired, you can use the resources above to replace them. If you think they might have been among the tests with an extended expiration date, you can check for the lot number here.
For questions about COVID-19, call the Alexandria COVID-19 Hotline at 703.746.4988, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.