Updated January 18, 2022
Right now, a lot of people are looking for testing and resources are limited. What to do if you can’t get a test.
Where to Get Tested
At a Doctor's Office or Clinic
If you have a regular care provider, contact your doctor’s office or clinic.
If you think you might have COVID-19, be sure to call before you visit a clinic and let them know. They will tell you next steps so you don’t get others sick at the facility.
Call 211 or Multnomah County’s COVID-19 Call Center (503.988.8939) for help finding testing. Many sites offer free testing.
OHSU offers testing by appointment Monday - Friday for all community members ages 2 months and older - with or without symptoms:
- Parking Garage D 719 S.W. Lower Canyon Drive Portland, OR 97239 Schedule an appointment. This is a drive through site, maximum clearance is 6’ 8”.
For other testing options at OHSU, visit the OHSU website or call 833-647-8222.
You can order free, at-home tests from USPS. They will send you four tests per residential address. If you need help ordering the tests you can call our COVID-19 Call Center at 503-988-8939.
At-home self-tests can be purchased online or at many local pharmacies, drug stores, or grocery stores. Read more about self-tests.
Who Should Get Tested
Try to get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or if you have recently been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, whether or not you’ve been vaccinated. Close contact means being within 6 feet of someone for 15 minutes or more over the course of a day, with or without a mask.
If you are getting tested because you had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, it’s best to get tested 5 days after you were together. The test may not work if you get tested too soon. You may need to quarantine depending on your COVID-19 vaccination history: How long should you quarantine?
If you can’t get a test or a testing appointment
If you have symptoms
- If you feel well and your symptoms are much better after 5 days, you can stop isolating, but
- Wear a well-fitting mask around others for 5 additional days.
- If you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medications.
- Call your health care provider immediately if you are at high risk for severe disease.
- Watch for serious symptoms. Go to an emergency department or call 911 if you develop these symptoms.
If you do not have symptoms and have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19
If you are unvaccinated or are not up-to-date* with your booster and vaccines: Quarantine yourself for 5 days from the date of exposure, and then wear a well-fitting mask for the next 5 days any time you are around others.
If you are up to date* with your booster and vaccines: You do not need to quarantine if you are a close contact. Wear a well-fitting mask around others and watch yourself for symptoms for 10 days.
*You are up to date on your booster and vaccines if you: Have been boosted OR have completed your vaccine doses of Pfizer or Moderna within the last 5 months OR J&J within the last 2 months.
What to Expect
There are different kinds of COVID-19 tests. Some tests, including some molecular tests and PCR tests, involve a swab that goes in your nose quite far, so you may feel brief discomfort. Other tests, including many rapid or antigen tests, involve a swab just inside your nostril or require you to spit into a testing kit. Some of these you will perform yourself and then give the swab back to the clinic staff.
If your child is getting tested you may be asked to help hold them. We encourage you to go first and show them it will be okay.
Getting Your Test Results
Depending on what type of test you get, your results may take only 15 - 30 minutes, or up to a few days.
If you have to wait a few days for your results, you should stay home and away from others during that time. This will help keep you from giving the virus to others if you have it. Once you get your results, you may need to isolate or quarantine. If you have any problem isolating or quarantining, there is help.
If you test negative - Follow any instructions from your provider. Even if you have tested negative, if you have been around someone with COVID, you may need to stay home away from others. Continue everyday measures to protect yourself and others.
If you test positive - Whether or not you have symptoms, please stay home and separate from others for 5 days. If you have no symptoms, or your symptoms are resolved after 5 days, you can leave your home. Continue to wear a mask around others for 5 more days.