Being screened for COVID-19 and being tested for COVID-19 are very different. One involves a series of questions (screening) and the other involves an actual lab test (testing). Here’s a quick breakdown of the differences:
What is COVID-19 Screening?
- You are asked a series of questions about your age, general health, and symptoms.
- You will answer questions about potential exposure and any travel you have done.
- This information helps a health care provider determine if you should have further testing.
- A health care provider may recommend that you get tested for COVID-19.
- Screening is also done when you go in person to a hospital or other health care area to identify if you might be sick.
What is COVID-19 Testing?
- You do not need a referral from a doctor or other provider to get tested.
- You will go to a testing site.
- You will be screened (asked a series of questions).
- You will likely be tested for COVID-19 by nasopharyngeal swab (similar to a cotton swab being stuck into your nose).
- A laboratory test will be performed to find out if you have COVID-19.
- Your results will be delivered in around one to three days.
Should You Do a Screening, or Should You Go Get Tested?
Screening is appropriate if you aren’t sure if you should be tested. For example, if you have symptoms, but no exposure to a confirmed-positive person. Screening is also appropriate if you are not sure if your symptoms are COVID-19 symptoms. The UAMS HealthNow online screening tool routes you to receive testing if it is deemed that you need to be tested. You are also able to request a virtual visit at the end of your screening, but it is important to know that this is a paid visit (you will be charged) and it is not necessary to have a virtual visit in order to get a COVID-19 test.
Testing is appropriate if you have symptoms of COVID-19, if you have had an exposure to a positive person or if you have traveled outside of the state in the last four weeks. When you go to a UAMS Health testing site, you will still be screened before it is determined if you should have a test.