COVID-19: Get Tested
Testing when you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 helps you stay healthy and prevent further spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 tests, both PCR tests and rapid at-home antigen tests, are available for people across Alexandria.
This website outlines when to get tested, where to get tested, and understanding your test results. Review the information below and continue to test when necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
When to Get Tested
Here are some of the times when you would need to get tested for COVID-19. 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.
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.
Paying for Tests
On May 11, 2023, the COVID-19 public health emergency will end.
Since the PHE is ending, the costs of COVID-19 tests, which were previously covered by the government or by insurance companies, will change, beginning May 11, 2023. The availability and potential costs of tests are outlined below:
At-Home COVID-19 tests:
- Available for free at Alexandria libraries, daycares, and other sites. You do not need insurance.
- Available for purchase at Alexandria pharmacies and general stores
- Free for people with Medicaid.
- If you have Medicare or private insurance, you may have to pay some or all of the cost.
Other COVID-19 Tests:
- Available at sites in Alexandria, including labs, provider offices, urgent cares, and some pharmacies.
- Free for all people with Medicaid.
- If you have Medicare or private insurance, you may have to pay some or all of the costs.
Have further questions? Talk to your health care provider or staff where you pick up and buy your tests. Or call Alexandria Health Department's COVID-19 hotline at 703.746.4988.
Where to Get Tested or Get a Test
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.
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.