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COVID-19

How to Get a Test

WARNING! Counterfeit Flowflex and iHealth COVID-19 home test kits are circulating in the US. Learn more.
Where to Get a COVID-19 Test
Test at a location
Free testing is still available for uninsured individuals, regardless of immigration status.
Telephone
Pharmacy
School
  • From your employer or school
    If your employer or school requires a test, get one through your employer or educational facility.
Los Angeles County
  • A County-sponsored community location
    If you don’t have health insurance, you can get a free COVID-19 test at a community location regardless of your immigration status. If you have health insurance, please contact your doctor or health plan to get tested. Insured individuals can also go to a community location but need to provide health insurance information.
    Many sites test children of any age. Check with the testing site to find out if they offer PCR and/or antigen tests.
    Visit covid19.lacounty.gov/testing or text 844-833-1334 to find a location near you. If you don’t have access to the internet or email or need help arranging a test, call 2-1-1.
non-county testing site
  • Other testing site
    Some sites are run by private companies, private healthcare systems, or local cities and are not vetted by LA County.
    • They may charge for a test. Ask in advance if there are any charges or fees.
    • They also may ask for information such as a government ID or insurance.
    • If you are looking for a test for your child, ask about age limitations.
Test at home
Home
  • Home collection kits (PCR tests)- you collect the sample and it is tested in a laboratory
    PCR test kits are available for people ages 4+ who live in LA County and have symptoms or think they were exposed to COVID-19. Results are usually available 24-48 hours after the lab receives the test. The kits, testing, and mailing are all free through a County program:
    • Order a kit online. The kit is sent to your home by mail, and you return it by mail to the lab.
    • Pick-up a test kit from a location in the community, including select clinics, libraries, and recreation centers. Collect the sample at home or in your car and return it to the same site.
    For details, visit covid.19.lacounty.gov/testing.
Home sick
  • Self-tests (antigen test) - you collect the sample and do the test yourself. Results usually take 15-30 minutes.
    • Order free tests from COVIDtests.gov. You can get up to 16 free rapid tests per household by mail.
    • Buy them from a pharmacy, online, or a store such as a supermarket or big box store (these may be covered in you have insurance – see paying for a test).
    • Pick up a kit from a Public Health vaccination site.
Tips for Testing at Home

Video also available in Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL).

  • Check if your test is authorized by the FDA
    Visit At-Home OTC COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests (Spanish) to see if your test is authorized. Some self-tests have age limitations.

  • Check the expiration date - which might have been extended.
    The expiration date is on the box. It is printed as year- month - day. For example, 2022 11 20 means November 20, 2022.

  • Follow the manufacturer’s step by step instructions exactly.
    Be sure to discard kits (and all components) promptly after use/test results.

  • Keep all parts of the test kit out of reach of children and pets before and after use.
    Supervise children when testing. The chemicals and small parts can cause harm if they are used incorrectly. Learn more from this FDA at-home COVID-19 test safety message.

  • For more information on home test kits, visit the CDC self-testing website.

For information about testing children, see COVID-19 Testing Resources for Children. Click here for other languages

Paying for a Test
free
  • Testing at LA County testing sites is free for all LA County residents. This includes undocumented residents and those with and without health insurance. Visit covid19.lacounty.gov/testing.
  • COVID-19 tests are available at no cost nationwide at health centers and select pharmacies. Visit Community-Based Testing Sites for COVID-19.
    • Participating testing providers may ask for your insurance information or ask you to enroll in a government program so that they can get reimbursed for the cost of the test. Some sites may charge a sliding scale fee if you are unable or unwilling to provide insurance information.
      The County does not endorse or regulate all COVID-19 testing sites. Please make sure to read and ask about any costs for a COVID-19 test.
  • If you have insurance:
    • Health insurers are required (by federal law) to cover the entire cost of testing whether you have symptoms or not if a doctor orders the test. (Note: insurance companies may not cover COVID-19 testing if done as part of an employee return-to-work program.)
    • Most people with health insurance, including Medi-Cal and Medicare, can get rapid self-tests at no cost. Contact your health plan for instructions. If you go to a pharmacy or store and they don’t take your insurance keep your receipts. Most health plans will reimburse some or all of the cost. Most pay for up to 8 at-home tests per month for each person on the plan. The test must be authorized by the FDA. For more information, visit the CMS webpage How to get your At-Home Over-The-Counter COVID-19 Test for Free. A list of FDA-authorized home-tests can be found here.

Scams, Warnings, & Recalls
warning

Beware of COVID-19 testing scams and fraud.

The Federal Trade Commission has information on how to avoid buying fake test kits online or get tricked into using a scam testing location.

Counterfeit tests

The Food and Drug Administration warns that counterfeit COVID-19 self-tests are being used and distributed in the US.

How can you tell if a test is real or fake?
Look at the box and materials for:

  • poor quality images or text on the label or instructions
  • missing key information, such as the lot number, expiration date, barcode or QR code (See photos of examples - click the name of test on the FDA webpage and scroll down to view)
  • spelling or grammatical errors
  • parts of the kit that do not match the description (for example, missing instructions, missing or empty components, different number of parts).
  • trade name, labels, or instructions that look different from the authorized labeling on the FDA website: At-Home OTC COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests | FDA

Learn more about counterfeit at-home COVID-19 diagnostic tests at this FDA webpage.

If you think you found a fake COVID-19 pop-up site or bought a fake COVID-19 test, please report it to the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs at bit.ly/DCBAHelp or 1-800 593-8222.

Visit the PH COVID-19 scams and fraud webpage to find out more about common COVID-19 scams and fraud.

DO NOT USE THE FOLLOWING TESTS

Check here to see if your test might be counterfeit:

  • 4-29-22: Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Home Tests
  • 4-29-22: iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Kits

Note: As of 4-29-22, the FDA is not aware of any counterfeit tests distributed by the U.S. Government test distribution programs.

Do not use these tests that are not authorized, cleared, or approved by the FDA.

  • 5-17-22: Woodside Acquisitions, Inc. Oral Rapid SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test Kits and Joysbio SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test Kits (Colloidal Gold) Class 1 Recall FDA Recall
  • 5-10-22: Skippack Medical Lab SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test (Colloidal Gold) Class 1 Recall FDA Recall
  • 3-17-22: SD Biosensor Inc. STANDARD Q COVID-19 Home Ag Test Class | Recall FDA Recall
  • 3-2-22: Celltrion DiaTrust COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test (green and white packaging). FDA message
  • 3-1-22: ACON Laboratories Flowflex SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test (Self-Testing). FDA message
  • 2-4-22: E25Bio COVID-19 Direct Antigen Rapid Test. FDA message
  • 1-28-22: Empowered Diagnostics CovClear COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test and ImmunoPass COVID-19 Neutralizing Antibody Rapid Test. FDA message
  • 1-11-22: LuSys Laboratories COVID-19 Antigen Tests (may also be labeled Luscient Diagnostics, Vivera Pharmaceuticals, or EagleDx). FDA message

For more information, visit the FDA safety webpage. If you are using a home-test kit, check the FDA's website to make sure your test is authorized. If you had a problem with a COVID test, please report it to FDA’s MedWatch program.

What to Know Before a Test
what to know
  • Talk to your doctor about which test is right for you.
  • If you have to be tested for screening purposes such as for work or travel, make sure that you get a test that meets the requirements of your employer, airline, or other institution.
  • Before you get a test make sure that you know:
    • What type of test you are being offered (NAAT or antigen).
    • How long it will take to get your results.
    • How you will find out the results.
    • What precautions you should take while you wait for your results and what you should do if your result is positive or is negative.
  • After you receive your test result, make sure that you understand what your result means and what to do next. You should be given a fact sheet about the test you received. If you did not, ask for one.
  • To learn more about COVID testing, visit ph.lacounty.gov/covidtests.

 

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Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.

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