Get Tested for COVID-19
If you're concerned you've been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, get tested.
Getting tested is essential in helping slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities by identifying those who have the virus so they can get treated and isolate from others to lower the spread.
You should get tested if:
- If you have COVID-19 Symptoms: Symptoms can range from mild symptoms to severe illness and may appear 2–14 days after exposure to the virus. You can learn about more possible symptoms on the CDC COVID-19 Symptom page. Some of the symptoms of COVID-19 can include (not all possible symptoms):
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- After exposure to COVID-19: People who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 should be tested to check for infection and may need to follow Quarantine Protocol
Where to get tested
- Your health care provider
- Local pharmacies, including CVS and Walgreens
- Alameda County Public Health Testing
- California COVID-19 testing locator
COVID-19 At-Home Test Kits (antigen)
Free COVID test kits for community-based organizations
Community-based organizations can request free rapid antigen test kits by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Your organization is eligible if you:
- Serve the community in any public service capacity (such as community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, shelters, and food banks)
- Can distribute 100 tests or more
- Are available to pick up the kits on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 am to 11 am
If you are planning to use a home test kit, it should be a FDA Emergency Use Authorized (EUA) antigen test. These tests allow you to test yourself and get quick results. They are available over the counter without a prescription and may be available at:
- Your local pharmacy or retail store
- Covidtests.gov: This Federal program allows every U.S. household to order 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests using the program’s USPS website. Those who have already ordered their first set can order an additional set of 4 free tests. Those without internet access can place an order by phone at (800) 232-0233
- CDPH has authorized the use of COVID-19 Tests beyond the original FDA authorization expiration
To see guidance on how to perform an at-home test, how to interpret results and to learn more about these tests, visit the CDC's Self-Testing webpage.
After a positive test, lab or home
If you live in Berkeley and test positive, Berkeley Public Health will contact you after your positive result is received. If you live outside of Berkeley, your local public health jurisdiction will provide this information—regardless of where you completed your test.
If you take a FDA Emergency Use Authorized (EUA) antigen test and test positive, at this time, there is no need to report your result to the City of Berkeley.
Anyone that tests positive for COVID-19, regardless of the test type, should immediately begin to isolate.
COVID-19 advice line for uninsured
If you do not have insurance or have Medi-Cal but no regular doctor, the State's Medi-Nurse line can assist you with:
- COVID-19 symptom questions and connect you with local resources
- Advise if your symptoms might be COVID-19 related and what the best next steps are including advising if you should get tested for COVID-19 and/or see a health care provider for treatment
The Medi-Nurse line is available 24/7, 7 days a week at (877) 409-9052. Those that have insurance should seek advice from their medical provider for questions regarding COVID-19 symptom questions.
- COVID-19 Symptom Checker (CDC)
- COVID-19 Symptoms (CDC)
- Quarantine after COVID-19 exposure (City of Berkeley)
- If you're sick, isolate (City of Berkeley)
- COVID-19 Test to Treat Locator
Last updated March 2, 2023.
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