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Frequently Asked Questions

Updated December 3, 2020

Testing and Results

Do I need to be tested?

You should be tested for COVID if you:

  • have been exposed to someone with COVID (if you do not have symptoms, wait to be tested until 7 days after your exposure to the person)
  • have symptoms of COVID:
    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea

Find a free COVID testing site near you.

Be sure to note the specific appointment, registration, or other requirements for the site you select.

Where can I get tested?

Be sure to note the specific appointment, registration, or other requirements for the site you select:

Find a free COVID testing site near you.

How do I get my results?

Get test results from the provider who administered your test.

If you were tested by Salt Lake County Health Department:

  • Nasal swab tests are sent to a laboratory for processing. We will call you when your results are in. Note that due to the high volume of tests, results can take up to 5 business days from when you were tested. If you do not receive a call after 5 business days, you can call us at 385-468-4100.
  • Rapid test results will be emailed to the address with which you registered within 24 hours of your test.
I tested positive; now what?

A Salt Lake County Health Department contact tracer will contact you within 72 hours to ask you about where you have been and with whom you have been in contact while you have been ill.

It is very important that you answer questions honestly and follow any instructions. We will never ask for financial information or for your social security number.

Everything you tell the contact tracer is private and used only to help stop the spread of disease; we DO NOT share identifying information with police, immigration, or any other government agencies.

If you have symptoms, you will need to stay isolated at home for 10 days from when your symptoms began AND until you have been without a fever (without the aid of fever-reducing medication) for 24 hours.

If you do not have symptoms, you will need to stay isolated at home for 10 days from your test date.

Whether you have symptoms or not, if you are positive for COVID you must NOT go to work, to school, to the store, to the home of friends or family members, or anywhere else until you are cleared by your contact tracer to leave home.

Tell your contact tracer if you cannot isolate at home for any reason, such as there are too many people and the home is small, or if you have nowhere to go. Salt Lake County has assistance for this and can help.

I tested negative; now what?

Your negative result means you DID NOT have COVID at the time of testing.

If you were tested because you were exposed, you still need to complete your full 10-day quarantine period in case you develop symptoms later in that time.

You could still become exposed and infected after being tested, so it is important that you continue to:

  • Stay at least 6 feet away from people outside your household as much as possible.
  • Wear a face covering whenever you leave home and cannot easily stay 6 feet away from others.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly (using soap and water for AT LEAST 20 seconds).
  • Stay home and seek testing again if you develop symptoms of illness, such as cough, fever, chills, difficulty breathing, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
I recovered from COVID; can I get infected again?

Yes, people have been reinfected after recovering so it is important that you continue to practice all appropriate precautions after recovering and leaving isolation.

Do I need a negative test to leave isolation or return to work?

No, we do not recommend waiting for a negative test to leave isolation. Some people will continue to test positive for up to 60 to 90 days after recovering.

You should isolate in your home until your symptoms are improving and the following has passed:

  • 10 days after you first felt ill AND
  • 24 hours after you no longer have a fever without the aid of fever-reducing medications
How do I get a copy of my results or a letter for work about my status?

Your contact tracer—the health department employee who calls you after you receive your positive result to discuss your symptoms and illness timeline—can provide you with written documentation of your lab results, an isolation letter, or a letter clearing you to return to work.