Last updated on 6/5/2023
Stay home if you are sick
Types of tests
The two most common COVID-19 tests are the PCR and the rapid test. Both have very low false positive rates, so if you test positive on either type of test, assume you have COVID and isolate at home.
- PCR — This is the more sensitive test and must be sent to a lab. Results take at least 1-3 days. This test is appropriate for people with or without symptoms.
- At-home test — These tests are not as sensitive, but you can get results within 30 minutes. These tests work best for people who have symptoms and are most accurate 2-3 days after you develop symptoms. False negatives are common, especially early in the infection, so if you test negative you can repeat the test at least 24 hours later. If you test negative on the second test it is unlikely that you have COVID-19.
When to test
If you have symptoms:
- If using an at-home test, test two to three days after your symptoms start. If getting a more sensitive PCR test, you can test shortly after symptoms begin.
If you don't have symptoms, but have been exposed to COVID-19:
- If you choose to test, try to do it on day five after exposure. If you get a negative result on a PCR test you are very unlikely to have COVID-19. If you get a negative result on an at-home test, you could still have COVID because these tests are less sensitive. These tests are most accurate when you have symptoms. You can take a follow-up at-home test at least 24 hours after your first test to improve the chances of detecting virus.
Where to get at-home tests
- Buy a test at a pharmacy or get one from you health care provider: At-home test kits are available at retail locations, pharmacies and online. You get two tests for about $25. After May 11, 2023 insurers are no longer required to reimburse for at-home tests. Please check with your insurer to find out if they will provide at-home tests or reimburse you for purchasing one.
When and how to use an at-home test
- Test on day two or three after your symptoms start.
- If you choose to test when you don't have symptoms, test on day five after exposure. False negatives are common if you don't have symptoms.
- Don't use prior to travel. Most airlines and countries only accept results from an approved clinic or testing site.
- Do not test prior to going to a large gathering. Tests will not prevent infection at a large gathering; it's better to keep your gatherings small.
- At-home tests contain instructions. You can also use:
Where to get tested away from home
After May 11, 2023, when the COVID-19 federal emergency ends, insurers are no longer required to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing. Some insurers will still offer free testing, while other may require a co-pay or out-of-pocket costs. You can still find locations that offer no-costing testing at testinglocator.cdc.gov. For no cost testing and treatment sites, visit this website.
- Testing at hospital and urgent care locations, normal hours of operation.
- For Kaiser members and health care providers only.
- Kaiser is prioritizing testing for symptomatic and high-risk patients.
- Kaiser Permanente website
- Available at all centers: Rapid COVID-19 tests; results in 15 minutes. Antibody testing; results in 2-3 days.
- Patients with symptoms can schedule a virtual visit or in-clinic online at most locations, with the exception of asymptomatic testing centers indicated on the website.
- Insured: Many insurance plans accepted.
- No insurance: Virtual visits cost $174 plus $75 for the rapid test. In-person visits cost $240 plus $75 for test.
- Legacy GoHealth website
- OHSU offers testing by appointment at several locations in the Portland metro area, including the OHSU Health Immediate Care Clinics in Beaverton, Forest Grove and South Hillsboro.
- Options for both established patients and those with different or no insurance.
- More information on OHSU COVID information page
- Offering testing only for urgent medical needs for Providence affiliated patients.
- Doctor referral/appointment required. Call 971-326-8718 to schedule.
- PCR testing with results available within two to three days.
- Will bill insurance or financial assistance available for those who are uninsured
- Providence website.
- Testing only for insured patients. 12575 SW Walker Rd. Beaverton, OR (drive-through testing, self-administered with pharmacist guidance)
- Hours: Monday-Friday and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
- Patients must create an account online, take an online screening, meet testing criteria, and then be given an appointment.
- Test results expected within 2-5 days
- Rite Aid website
- Online health assessment and appointment required.
- There may be a cost if your insurance doesn't pay or if you do not meet federal eligibility requirements.
- Rapid testing results available within 24 hours.
- Walgreens website.
- All patients must be screened before going for a test.
- Results are usually available within 3-5 days or same day for rapid testing.
- Insurance: Some plans cover it. Please check with your insurance company ahead of time.
- Uninsured/not covered: Screening video visit is $85, plus cost of test. Rapid antigen test is $50, rapid PCR is $100.
- ZoomCare website.