COVID-19 Testing Frequently Asked Questions

What are the primary symptoms of COVID-19?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

This list is not all possible symptoms. Other less common symptoms have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

What should I do if I'm experiencing severe symptoms?

If you or a family member are experiencing severe symptoms, please call your doctor. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, please call 911.

Am I eligible for testing?

Testing is currently available to all residents of L.A. County whether or not you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

Is the test free? Why am I being asked for my health insurance information?

The test is free to you, whether or not you have insurance. If you have insurance, the provider may bill your insurance carrier for the cost of the test. By law, the insurance company may not charge you any co-pay, deductible, or any out of pocket expense.

When can I be tested?

Testing is by appointment only and is subject to availability. People with symptoms and front line workers are prioritized to receive same day or next day appointments.

Who qualifies as a front line worker?

At this time, front line workers who may receive priority testing are:

  • First responders
  • Critical government personnel
  • Health care professionals
  • Grocery workers
  • Delivery, rideshare, taxi, and public transit drivers
  • Credentialed members of the media

If you are not sure whether you qualify, consult with your employer for further information.

Is there testing for residents who are subject to a mandatory quarantine order?

No. If you are subject to a quarantine order, you must follow the order. Getting tested does not relieve you from the quarantine order.

Is there testing available for residents of nursing homes or assisted living facilities?

If you work in an assisted living facility where health care workers suspect an outbreak of COVID-19, our crisis response testing team may be able to help with urgent COVID-19 testing. If you are an administrator or medical director of such a facility, please contact us here. We help with testing at facilities that houses the elderly, chronically ill, or debilitated, including nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, or respiratory hospitals.

Why are you asking whether I am a Kaiser Permanente member?

Kaiser Permanente has asked the City to refer Kaiser members who are experiencing symptoms to its system for care and testing. The City does not control Kaiser Permanente’s criteria for testing. Testing at City sites remains free for all residents, regardless of whether or not you are a Kaiser member, or whether or not you have insurance.

How does the testing work?

We have created a helpful instructional video to prepare you to take the test.

Am I required to show ID?

Yes. Bring a form of personal identification to your test. This helps ensure that your test results are matched to the right person. Your identity and your test results are protected by federal law and will not be shared with any other agencies for purposes of law enforcement or immigration.

Is the test invasive?

The test is a mouth swab that the patient can collect themselves.

Is the mouth swab test accurate?

The laboratory we utilize has clinical trial data that is now published and publicly available (here) showing that our sensitivity is at least as good as nasal swabs. The test has been issued an Emergency Use Authorization pursuant to Section 564 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The testing and validation has been reviewed and signed off by Dr Jeffrey Klausner, professor of infectious disease medicine at UCLA. The testing method was also endorsed by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Can I schedule an appointment if I am not a resident of the Los Angeles County?

No. Testing is only available for residents of the County of Los Angeles who are experiencing symptoms.

How do I check availability to sign up for a test?

To confirm eligibility and search testing appointment availability, go to Coronavirus.LACity.org/Testing.

If I make an appointment, when and where is testing being done?

There are drive-through and walk-up testing sites operating in Los Angeles County. When you book your appointment, you will receive a confirmation with the date, time, and location of your appointment, as well as other details. You will also be directed to a link to a video which will show you what to expect at the testing site.

What do I do if all of the appointments are full?

Checking for appointments at a different location. We are adding more appointments regularly. Please check back to see when additional testing sites and appointments have become available.

How far in advance can I schedule a test appointment?

Test appointments are now available for the same day or following day for symptomatic individuals

How do I cancel my appointment?

You do not need to do anything to cancel your testing appointment. If you do not show up, the test will be reallocated to someone else.

When do I need to arrive for my appointment?

Please arrive at the scheduled time listed on your confirmation email.

Can I bring other people with me?

Sign ups are for individuals, so if you're seeing COVID-19 symptoms in multiple family members, please make individual appointments for each person.

Can I have other people in my car when I arrive for testing?

Yes, but please do not expose others if you suspect you are ill. Only those with confirmed appointments will be tested. Each individual must have their own appointment.

Do I need to do anything to prepare for my appointment?

Please do not eat or drink anything one hour before your testing appointment. Watch this instructional video for other information to help you prepare.

What should I do if I do not have access to a vehicle?

Some test sites will accept walk-ups. Check the list of test sites to make this determination.

How long will the test take?

The test itself will only take a few minutes, but the wait in line at each test site will vary.

Do I have to get out of my car?

Depending on the testing site, some are walk-up and some are drive-through and the test can be done while you remain in the vehicle.

How much does the test cost?

The test is free of charge.

How and when will I receive my results?

Test results may take up to five days to get back. For more information, see our About Test Results page.

How can I contact the testing site?

At this time, each testing site is facilitating hundreds of appointments every day and cannot respond to direct inquiries. All appointments must be made online. No changes can be made to appointments; to change location or time, a new appointment will be required.

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