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Most King County offices will be closed on July 4, for Independence Day.  
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Updated on June 30, 2022: Updated raid test question #6.

See rapid test-related questions.

See travel-related questions about testing.

General testing questions

  • Insurance card, if you have insurance. If you have insurance, please provide this information and the lab will bill them. You will not be charged for the test. You do not need to have insurance or a doctor’s note to schedule a test.
  • A well-fitted mask. As a healthcare facility, masks are required at all indoor and outdoor testing locations regardless of vaccination status.
  • Testing is available regardless of your citizenship/immigration status. Photo ID is not required.

Anyone with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested as early as possible regardless of vaccination status.

You should get tested if you are exposed to someone who has COVID-19 (within 6 feet of the person for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period):

  • If fully vaccinated seek testing 3 or more days after exposure. If symptoms develop within 14 days of exposure, isolate and consider retesting. If symptoms develop within 14 days of exposure, isolate and consider retesting.
  • If unvaccinated seek testing immediately. If you test negative, continue to quarantine and seek testing again 5-7 days after last exposure, or immediately if symptoms develop during quarantine.

Find detailed Isolation and Quarantine guidance here.

For testing guidance on domestic and international travel, see the Travel page on CDC's website.

There are many options in King County to get a COVID-19 test:

  1. Start with your healthcare provider. If you have health insurance, schedule a test with your doctor. If you have symptoms or a known exposure, your healthcare provider is required by law to get you a test.
  2. Free testing sites operated by King County – These locations are open to anyone and offer free COVID-19 testing regardless of immigration or insurance status. Advance appointments are strongly recommended to avoid long wait times or being turned away.
  3. Self-testing, also known as at-home or rapid tests, are available over the counter and offer results within 15-30 minutes. See self-test options here.

Testing is free at any of the King County and Seattle sites listed on the COVID-19 testing page. If you have private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, please bring that information and the lab will bill them. If you do not have coverage, you will not be charged for the test. You do not need to have insurance or a provider's note to schedule a test.

If you get tested at your doctor's office, a private clinic, or a hospital, there may be administrative costs associated with your visit. However, the test itself is free.

There is a cost for rapid self-tests. Costs for a self-test may vary depending on the store you purchase from. They are available at pharmacies, retail stores and online. The cost for a rapid self-test is higher if performed on site through a rapid test facility. See more information about rapid self-testing.

We encourage everyone to register online before going to a testing site. Find the complete list of locations and hours here. To register for a test, select the "Make reservation online" link below your preferred testing location. 

If you have difficulty registering, call the King County COVID-19 Call Center at 206-477-3977, option 3, (open 7 days a week, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.). If you need an interpreter, please tell us in English what language you need.

To find out more about vaccine appointments, visit kingcounty.gov/vaccine.

When you take a test, you will be given instructions on how to check your results online. Results are usually available within 72 hours.

If you need a test for travel, it is not guaranteed you will get results within 72 hours or that the results will meet the specific requirements for all countries.

Once the specimen is sent to the lab, King County does not have control over the time it takes to process. You are encouraged to start checking your results after 24 hours. All of King County's test sites use an online results portal.

If you need a rapid test for travel, see travel-related questions below for a list of sources.

Most of King County’s sites offer both drive-through or walk-up testing unless otherwise noted in their listing on this page. Please check the location listing before you go.

You can get tested at any King County COVID-19 testing site even if you don't have symptoms. Find a list of King County testing sites here.

Priority testing is given to those with symptoms or immediate risk for COVID-19. Advance appointment recommended. Test results may take up to 72 hours and are not guaranteed.

Other testing options

If you need a test for an event, travel or other non-urgent need, rapid self-test kits can be purchased at a pharmacy, retailer, or online, or you can have the test performed at a facility that specializes in rapid testing. See a list of rapid testing facilities here (FAQ #3). Check with your event, organization, or travel destination to find out what type of test they will accept.

A reminder to get tested immediately if you have signs or symptoms of COVID-19 regardless of vaccination status.

All King County-operated sites perform molecular/NAAT tests using anterior nasal swabs. These are the swabs that go part way up the nasal cavity. Examples of molecular tests/NAAT tests are PCR and TMA. The type of test performed will vary by location.

If you are needing a PCR test for school, work or other reasons, the following King County-operated sites perform molecular PCR tests exclusively: Federal Way, Renton, and Tukwila/White Center.

See the full list of King County-operated testing locations.

Please allow up to 72 hours for results.

AN (Anterior Nares) swabs are used at all test sites. Self-swab sites include Enumclaw, Federal Way, Renton, and Tukwila. Swabs performed by clinical staff are available at the Auburn testing site.

Organizations should create their own testing policies. Check with your organization to find out what type of test they will accept.

King County endorses any type of COVID-19 test administered by a testing provider. Testing providers are required to use FDA-authorized or approved COVID-19 tests. Public Health does not endorse the use of antibody tests to diagnose current infection, in accordance with current CDC guidance.

People who have recently recovered from COVID-19 (within 90 days since a positive test) should use an antigen/self-test and not a NAAT/PCR/TMA test. NAAT tests are sensitive enough to pick up viral material up to 90 days after infection and could give an inaccurate result.

For more information on COVID-19 tests and the pros and cons of each see Accepted types of COVID-19 tests.

For more information on COVID-19 tests accepted for return to child care, see "What types of tests can be allowed to return to child care?".

Any type of COVID-19 test administered by a testing provider can be used. Testing providers are required to use FDA-authorized or approved COVID-19 tests. The negative result must be within the past 72 hours.

Rapid self-tests used without the supervision of a testing provider will NOT be accepted.

(Some examples of types of FDA-approved or authorized include: PCR, TMA, NAAT, molecular, antigen, and lateral flow. This is not an exhaustive list.)

If you test positive for COVID-19 or are at higher risk from the disease, getting COVID-19 treatment early can help to protect from severe illness and hospitalization. Ask your healthcare provider to see if treatment is recommended for you.

Rapid self-testing questions

Both are tests for COVID-19and collected via a nasal swab. Antigen self-tests, sometimes called a “rapid test” or “home test,” detect components of the virus whereas molecular tests, such as PCR or TMA tests, detect genetic material of the virus.

Antigen tests are not performed in a laboratory. They are quicker, resulting in 15-30 minutes. Molecular PCR tests are performed in a laboratory and take up to 72 hours to result.

You can purchase an antigen self-test kit at pharmacies, retail stores and online or you can have it performed on-site at a facility that specializes in rapid testing.

Antigen self-tests can be less sensitive (meaning more likely to get a false negative or positive test), but their quick results can help separate those from having a positive result from those that don't and decrease transmission. PCR tests are very sensitive (meaning less likely to have a false positive or negative result) and are often referred to as the "Gold Standard" even though it may take longer to get the results.

Learn more about the different types of COVID-19 tests and the pros and cons of each.

No. King County-operated test sites do not offer rapid testing of any kind, including antigen testing.

If you have a positive result, consider yourself positive regardless of vaccination status and:

  • Isolate for 5 days
  • Tell your close contacts and household members you have tested positive
  • If you have no symptoms, or your symptoms are improving after five days, you can leave your house. If you have a fever, stay home until your fever goes away.
  • You should continue to wear a high quality, well-fitting mask around others for five additional days.

If you use more than one test on a single individual and one of the tests is positive, consider yourself positive and isolate for 5 days.

If you test positive and don't have symptoms and weren't exposed and are concerned this may be a false positive, consider repeat testing for confirmation. Two negative tests in a row are required to confirm a false positive. The tests must be taken greater than 24 hours and less than 48 hours apart. Rapid antigen tests or molecular PCR tests can be used. Rapid antigen tests can be purchased at a pharmacy and a molecular PCR test can be taken a confirmatory test through your healthcare provider or at one of King County's testing sites. Healthcare staff must collect or observe the collection of a confirmatory test. Other than going to get tested you should continue to isolate while awaiting confirmatory results.

For a confirmatory negative test to override a rapid test result, the sample must be collected within 48 hours of the initial positive home-based, self-collected rapid test result.

If you test positive on the confirmation test, continue to isolate from others for 5 days (starting when you initially tested positive or when your symptoms started if you develop symptoms), regardless of your vaccination status.

If you are concerned that you might have COVID-19 because you were exposed or have symptoms, or that you might have a false negative result, then we recommend quarantining yourself and getting another COVID-19 test.

Options for repeat testing include:

  • through your healthcare provider
  • one of the King County testing sites
  • another testing site with confirmatory testing
  • continuing to test (no more than once in a 24-hour period) with a rapid self-test during your quarantine period. This is called serial testing. Serial testing is when a person tests themselves multiple times for COVID-19 on a routine basis, such as every few days. By testing more frequently, you might detect COVID-19 more quickly and could reduce the spread of infection. Some self-administered tests come with more than one test and instructions for performing serial testing. For serial testing to be used as a confirmatory negative test, you must have two negative test results in a row.

If a repeat test is positive, isolate from others for 5 days since your positive test, OR, if you develop symptoms, enter isolation the date your symptoms started, regardless of your vaccination status.

When getting a confirmation test, wear your mask and tell the staff that you have either had a positive test with an at home, self-collected over-the-counter test OR that you have had a concerning exposure or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 BEFORE you remove your mask.

How to check if an expiration date was extended

The FDA may extend the expiration dates on test kits. If you have a kit that has expired or is close to expiring, check the FDA website. On this page you will be able to see if the expiration date on your test has been extended.

  • First, find the manufacturer and test name shown on the box label of your test.
  • The Expiration Date column will say if the expiration date has been extended.
  • If the Expiration Date column does not say your test has been extended, that means the expiration date on the box label of your test is still correct.

Health experts do not recommend using expired tests, but if a test is just a few days past the expiration or the extended expiration date, it is most likely still effective. If the "control line" shows up according to the manufacturer instructions, that is a good indicator that the test is still working.

The FDA may extend the expiration dates on test kits. If you have a kit that has expired or is close to expiring, check the manufacturer website to see if the expiration date on the box has been extended.

Yes. Some sports are considered high risk for spreading COVID-19, such as water polo, indoor wrestling, basketball and cheer.

Insurance providers will reimburse families for up to eight tests per month. Learn more about insurance reimbursement (available in English only).

Travel-related questions

Testing is no longer required for travelers, but it is important to check COVID-19 Community Levels for your destination before you go and follow local guidelines.

Guidance for all travelers

Do not travel if you:

  • have symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19
  • are awaiting COVID-19 test results
  • had close contact with a person with COVID-19 and are recommended to quarantine.

If you had close contact with a person with COVID-19 but are NOT recommended to quarantine:

  • Get tested at least 5 days after your last close contact. Make sure your test result is negative and you remain without symptoms before traveling.
  • If you had confirmed COVID-19 within the past 90 days, you do NOT need to get tested, but you should still follow all other recommendations (including getting tested if you develop COVID-19 symptoms).

Travelers are no longer required to show a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 prior to boarding a flight to the U.S. CDC continues to recommend that those travelers boarding a flight to the U.S. get tested for current infection with a viral test as close to the time of departure as possible (no more than 3 days) and not travel if they are sick.

See full guidance for international travel on the CDC website.

King County testing sites are intended to test people who are at risk of having COVID-19 due to having symptoms or have been exposed to a COVID-19 case, and they are meant to serve communities that are disproportionately affected by COVID‑19 or have less access to healthcare. King County testing sites cannot guarantee the return of your test results in time for your intended travel but are available to anyone seeking a test.

King County does not have any partnerships with any airlines. 

People who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine can travel safely within the United States. While the CDC says it is safe to do so, they still discourage non-essential travel as it can contribute to the spread of COVID-19, which is still moderate-to-high in most of the country.

  • Check with your health care provider or a private health clinic. Many private health clinics and health care providers will provide testing with travel documentation for an additional fee.
  • Home self-tests, or rapid tests, are available for purchase in retails stores, pharmacies and online and offer results within 15-30 minutes. Check with your travel destination to see if home self-tests are accepted.
  • Check the following sites for rapid testing options if you need a test result in time for travel or other non-urgent need.
  • The following sites provide COVID-19 testing that specializes in rapid tests. These sites are not affiliated with Public Health – Seattle & King County. Please visit their website for location, hours, and cost information.

There are private companies and providers specializing in travel testing.  There are options at the Port of Seattle for travel testing as well.  To find out more about these options, please visit COVID-19 Testing and Travel Requirements | Port of Seattle (portseattle.org)

Our testing sites only offer whether COVID-19 was "Detected" or "Not Detected," along with the person's name, date of birth, test type, and date tested. King County testing sites are not intended to screen travelers. All King County tests are performed by accredited laboratories but if the above information does not satisfy your destinations needs then you would need to get testing done elsewhere.

If you need a test to travel, it's not guaranteed that you will receive a result within 72 hours of departure.

For more travel requirements and recommendations, visit CDC website for International Travel During COVID-19.

Domestic travel

Recommended for all travelers:

  • Get tested if your travel involved situations with greater risk of exposure such as being in crowded places while not wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator.
  • Follow additional guidance if you know you were exposed to a person with COVID-19
  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
  • If your test is positive or you develop COVID-19 symptoms, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.

If you have fully recovered from COVID-19 in the last 3 months, you do NOT need to get tested, but should still follow all other travel recommendations.

For full guidance on domestic travel, see the CDC website.

International travel

Travelers are no longer required to show a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 prior to boarding a flight to the U.S. CDC continues to recommend that those travelers boarding a flight to the U.S. get tested for current infection with a viral test as close to the time of departure as possible (no more than 3 days) and not travel if they are sick.

See full guidance for international travel on the CDC website.

For passengers traveling from the United States, a copy of a 'Certificate of Accreditation' issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) program is usually acceptable.