We use a PCR test to detect the virus that causes COVID-19. The community testing site operated by the County and City of Los Angeles are currently using samples collected from the nose or mouth:
Nose Sample – Most County sites are using a sample from the nose. There are two ways that samples from the nose are being collected at the community testing sites. The most common way is for the sample to be taken from the front of the nose. This is a "self-administered" test, meaning the person taking the test collects this sample on their own. It is much more comfortable than the sample taken from the back of the nose. Here is a short video to help you prepare for how to collect the sample:
At a few testing sites, the samples are collected from the back of the nose by a trained healthcare professional. There is nothing additional you need to do to prepare.
Mouth (or Oral) Sample – Most City sites are taking samples from the mouth. It is very important that you follow the instructions carefully for the mouth swab. The quality of the test will depend on how closely you follow the instructions. Here is a short video to help you prepare for how to collect the sample: