COVID-19: Get Tested

Learn when, where and why to get tested for COVID-19, and what to expect after receiving a positive or negative test result.

Page updated on Sep 15, 2020 at 9:25 PM

COVID-19 Drive-Through Testing imageWhere to Get Tested

COVID-19 has a wide range of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Getting tested gives you the power to stop the spread to friends and loved ones.

Find testing locations in your area using the options below:

  • Call your primary care doctor to see if they offer testing 
  • Use the multilingual guide to testing facilities in Alexandria and surrounding areas
    (several locations in the guide offer testing without insurance and may have sliding scales for payment)
  • Use the Virginia Department of Health's interactive  COVID-19 Testing Sites page

The Alexandria Health Department does not provide COVID-19 diagnosis or testing.


When to Get Tested

COVID-19 can present as mild symptoms, severe illness, or no symptoms at all. Getting tested for COVID-19 will better enable you to take care of yourself while sick, while at the same time allowing you to protect friends and loved ones from contracting the illness.

Get tested if you have any of the common symptoms below or you have spent 15 minutes or more within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19.

Common symptoms include:

  • fever or chills
  • cough
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • fatigue
  • muscle or body aches
  • headache
  • new loss of taste or smell
  • sore throat
  • congestion or runny nose
  • nausea or vomiting
  • diarrhea

Amharic | Arabic | Spanish

A Positive Test Result

A positive COVID-19 test doesn’t mean you have to quarantine forever, but there are several steps you must take to improve your health and protect those around you.

The “What To Do If You Get Sick” worksheet outlines steps for how long to stay away from others and who to contact after receiving a positive test result (also available in Spanish, Amharic, Arabic and Farsi).

You will receive a call from AHD as part of their case investigation, to figure out who your close contacts are and to connect you with needed resources while you stay home. Read more about what happens when you get a call.

It is critical to monitor your symptoms after a positive test. While most people may have mild symptoms, COVID-19 can become severe regardless of age or underlying conditions. Seek medical attention immediately if you develop trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest; new confusion; bluish lips or face; or inability to wake or stay awake.


Quarantine is Not Forever

While isolating yourself from others after contracting COVID-19 is one of the most important things you can do to stop the spread, it doesn’t last forever.

Determining when you can be around others depends on a number of factors, use the When You Can Be Around Others chart to help determine when it’s safe to leave your home and be around others (also available in Spanish, Amharic and Arabic).


A Negative Test Result

A negative test 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 is possible that you were very early in your infection when your sample was collected and that you could test positive later. You could also be exposed later and then develop the illness.

As always, take precautions to stay safe, such as wearing a mask over your nose and mouth, and maintaining at least 6 feet of physical distance.


More Information

For questions about COVID-19, call the Alexandria COVID-19 Hotline at 703.746.4988, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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