If you have COVID-19 symptoms or questions about your health related to COVID-19, a number of options are available. You can use an online format with our chatbot Clare or reach out to your primary care provider.
Your provider might recommend you get tested for COVID-19. While not everyone needs to be tested, your provider might suggest it as part of your care, either in the hospital or at one of our clinics.
Where to Test
There are several types of COVID-19 tests available, such as antigen (referred to as a rapid test), antibody or PCR.
If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you can get tested at one of our urgent care clinics - OSF OnCall Urgent Care, OSF PromptCare or Care Station. You may also contact your primary care provider for testing options.
Testing is also available at a community testing site near you. These tests are available for anyone with COVID-19 symptoms and those who are not experiencing any symptoms.
Find a State Testing Site
What to Expect
During a viral test, a swab that looks like a long Q-tip is used to collect a sample from inside your nose. You will usually be asked to tilt your head back, then the swab will be inserted through your nose into your nasal cavity. You may be directed to self-collect a nasal specimen while under our supervision and guidance.
This swab can be uncomfortable, but it should not be painful. The discomfort lasts only a few seconds. You may be asked to blow your nose or breathe through your mouth to make the collection process easier.
The swab collects cells from inside your respiratory tract to be checked for the presence of COVID-19. A specimen can be collected using a single swab, or each nostril may be swabbed as part of the test.
Depending on the type of test, the swab is sent to a laboratory for analysis or checked at the clinic location.
Billing & Insurance
If you receive a COVID-19 test from OSF HealthCare, OSF will invoice your insurance to cover its portion of the cost of the test. You may or may not have an out-of-pocket cost, depending on your insurance plan.
Results: What They Mean
Results of a COVID-19 test are usually available within 24 to 48 hours, unless you qualify for a rapid test within a clinic, in which case results may be available sooner.
There are three possible results of a COVID test:
- If you test positive for COVID-19, your provider will give you advice about what to do next.
- If you test negative for COVID-19, you will receive guidance from your provider and should continue to monitor yourself for symptoms.
- A very small number of tests may be inconclusive. If your result cannot be determined, your provider may recommend you get tested again.
Testing & Variant Strains
Viruses like the one that causes COVID-19 constantly change. Scientists have detected multiple variants, or strains, of this virus throughout the world.
If a mutation changes a virus enough, it can be difficult to detect with current tests. Currently, there are three strains of concern – B.1.1.7 first detected in the U.K, B.1.351 first detected in South Africa and P.1 first identified in individuals who had traveled to Brazil. All three strains have been detected in the U.S.
Learn more about these strains through the CDC website.
OSF has confirmed that tests performed in our laboratories will detect these variants and continue to give reliable results.