Testing for COVID-19

Last updated January 2, 2022.

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   Testing for COVID-19 

 

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Please note that community testing sites  may have longer than normal wait times due to high demand. Thank you for your patience as you take action to protect your loved ones and community.

Preregistrations are always strongly recommended. Those who have registered may experience faster wait times.

It’s easy to get a free, fast, and safe COVID-19 test. There are more than 150 free community testing sites across Colorado. Making an appointment is easy, and you don’t need insurance or ID to get tested.

To find a test near you, click on the color-coded map markers for testing site information. You can also view a list of testing sites by city.

Tip: Click on the small rectangle with an arrow in the top-left of the map to see a color coded map legend.

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Free community testing sites list

 

Who should get tested?

Anyone who wants a test should get one. 

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, which can feel like a cold, you should get tested as soon as possible, even if you’re fully vaccinated. Follow instructions on how to isolate until you feel better.

If you have been around someone who has COVID-19, you should get tested three to five days after you were exposed, even if you are fully vaccinated. If you are unvaccinated and were exposed to someone with COVID-19, follow instructions on how to quarantine.

Federal law requires up to two weeks paid leave for those who work for employers with fewer than 500 employees (though some employers with 50 or fewer employees may be exempt). The Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay Rules (“Colorado HELP Rules”) adds coverage for workers as well.

Additionally, there are many resources available to help you if you need to isolate or quarantine, including personal financial help and assistance with affording and obtaining food.

 

What if you test positive for COVID-19?

If you test positive for COVID-19, follow instructions on how to isolate.

If you are at risk of getting very sick, you may be able to get monoclonal antibody therapy to help you recover. This treatment can help keep you from getting seriously sick and keep you out of the hospital. Monoclonal antibody treatment is available across Colorado.

 

Types of tests

Tested for COVID-19? Here's what to expect

Molecular-based testing:

  • A molecular amplification test looks for genetic material from the COVID-19 virus. Most molecular tests for COVID-19 are called PCR tests. However, there are a few other molecular tests that are not called PCR. 
  • PCR is one the most reliable ways to test for COVID-19.  

Antigen Testing

  • An antigen test can quickly detect pieces of proteins from the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • The test is similar to a rapid flu test and is usually performed at the point of care by collecting a sample from the nasal cavity using a swab. Most antigen tests return results in approximately 15 minutes.

Serological testing:

  • A serological test is a blood test that looks for antibodies in your blood. It can detect the body’s immune response to the infection caused by the virus, rather than detecting the virus itself. 
  • While these tests can detect previous exposure to COVID-19, they can’t tell if a patient is currently infected and able to spread the virus to others. We don’t recommend using these tests to find out if you currently have COVID-19. 
  • More information about serological testing can be found in CDC’s Interim Guidelines for COVID-19 Antibody Testing.
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