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COVID-19 testing

Guidance and resources on where, how, and when to get tested for COVID-19 in King County.

Testing for respiratory viruses saves lives and helps people decide what to do next, like getting treatment to reduce risk of severe illness and taking steps to lower chances of spreading a virus to others. 


If you have respiratory virus symptoms that are not better explained by another cause (such as allergies), get tested for COVID-19 right away, even if you're vaccinated. If you test positive, most treatments for COVID-19 must start within 5 days of feeling sick.

When to test

  • If you feel sick. COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses have a wide range of symptoms, so if you’re not feeling well, it’s best to get tested as soon as possible.
  • If you are exposed to someone who has COVID-19, seek testing 5 days after exposure regardless of vaccination status. If symptoms develop, do not wait 5 days and get tested immediately, or consider retesting if you have already been tested. See the Isolation and Quarantine page for detailed guidance.
  • Before gathering with a large group of people, especially those who are at risk of severe disease or may not be up to date on their COVID-⁠19 vaccines.

Testing options

There are two main types of tests that can tell if you have COVID-19 or other Respiratory viruses:

  • Healthcare providers can test for COVID-19, flu, or other respiratory viruses.
  • COVID-19 self-tests. These are also sometimes called antigen, at-home, or rapid tests.


  • Rapid self-tests, also called at-home tests or antigen tests, tell you if you have COVID‑19 in 15 to 30 minutes. They may miss early infection. If you have COVID‑19 symptoms and test negative, repeat your test in 24 to 48 hours.
  • You can purchase self-tests at pharmacies, retail stores, or online. No insurance or prescription is required.
  • Follow the instructions inside the self-test box for the most accurate results. Video instructions in other languages are available on our YouTube Playlist.
  • Many brands of tests have extended their expiration dates. If your self-test has an expired date, go to Washington State Department of Health’s Rapid Antigen Test Date Extensions document (English only) to look up your brand of test. This document also explains how to check if your test is working properly.
  • If you test positive using a self-test or are concerned you have a false positive, consider repeating testing (two negative tests in a row taken 24 hours to 48 hours apart). If your confirmation test is positive, continue to isolate from others for 5 days from when you initially tested positive or when your symptoms started.


  • You can purchase self-tests at pharmacies, retail stores, or online. Some private health insurance companies may reimburse for at-home tests. Contact your insurance directly to verify your insurance coverage.
  • Medicaid insurance covers at-home COVID-19 tests through September 2024. Other insurance providers are no longer required by federal law to cover COVID-19 testing but check with your independent health plan as coverage may vary.
  • Low- or no-cost COVID-19 tests are available to everyone in the U.S., including people who are uninsured, at health centers and select pharmacies. Contact your health care provider or find a free or low-cost testing site in King County. If you have insurance, contact your insurance company before scheduling a test to see if testing is covered.

Testing positive for COVID-19 or another respiratory virus

What to do:

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Testing and travel

Testing is no longer required for travel within the U.S. or when entering the U.S.

For travel guidance, please visit the CDC's guidance for travelers.

COVID-19 testing sites by location 

See the list below for free or low-cost COVID-19 testing available throughout King County.

You will be asked to provide your ID and insurance card (if you have insurance), but it is not required to be tested.

These sites are not operated by King County and there may be a cost for their testing services. Please check their website for more information.

Select a city below to find a testing site near you.

Glossary terms

Select a tab below to view definition

Antigen test

Antigen tests, sometimes called a "self-test", “rapid test” or “home test,” detect virus proteins in the body. Antigen self-tests use saliva and nasal swab samples. Results take 15-30 minutes.

High-risk populations

Certain groups of people are considered high risk and are more likely to get seriously ill from COVID‑19. People over 60, unvaccinated people, people with underlying health issues, and pregnant people may be at higher risk.


Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.

Molecular/NAAT test

Tests that detect if COVID‑19 genetic material is in the body. These tests are done on samples collected via a nasal swab (from the nose). These tests include PCR and TMA.


Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

Serial testing

Testing that is repeated at different points in time is referred to as serial testing. Some self-tests are designed to be used in a series 24 to 48 hours apart. Serial testing may be more likely to detect infection among close contacts of a COVID‑19 case than testing done at a single point in time.