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​When You Should Be Tested

Although the federal test kit delivery program is currently suspended, you may qualify for 5 FREE at-home test kits to be delivered to your home from state government. Visit the NC DHHS Website to learn more.
Mask up. Wash up. Sleeve up, Get the vaccine.

Get tested for COVID-19 if you...

  • Have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, at least 5 days after exposure.
  • Would like to stop wearing a mask sooner than 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19. 
  • Are about to travel or recently returned home from traveling.
  • Are about to attend or recently attended a gathering where exposure to COVID-19 was possible.
  • Have been asked to test by your employer, school, or healthcare provider.
Call your healthcare provider to find out if you should be tested. If you do not have a health care provider and need help finding one, visit the Mecklenburg County Public Health (MCPH) Community Resource Guide page for information. You may also call the MCPH hotline at 980-314-9400. More guidance on testing is available from the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS).

Skip testing for COVID-19 if you...

  • Had COVID-19 in the past 90 days and recovered, unless you develop new symptoms.

About COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests

Diagnostic tests can show if you currently are infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. There are two types of COVID-19 diagnostic tests:
  • Antigen tests, often referred to as rapid tests
    • A specimen is collected using a swab, either by a provider or by yourself at home
    • The specimen is tested on site, and results are given within 15 minutes
    • These are useful as a quick check before spending time with high-risk and vulnerable family members
  • Molecular tests, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests 
    • A specimen is collected using a swab, either by a provider or by yourself at home
    • The specimen is sent to a laboratory, adn results are given within a few days
    • These are generally considered more accurate than rapid antigen tests

For a list of approved test kits, guidance for using at-home tests, and what to do once you have your results, visit the NC DHHS How to Test for COVID-19 at Home page. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Self-Testing page offers additional information about taking at-home tests.

Find On-Site Testing and At-Home Test Kits

Unless you are in need of immediate medical attention, avoid going to an emergency department to get tested for COVID-19. Emergency departments are busy with COVID-19-positive patients who need immediate care in addition to people who have medical emergencies unrelated to COVID-19.

  • Get tested on site or buy test kits at local pharmacies or retail stores. If you have proof of insurance, on site testing and test kits may be FREE.
  • Order FREE at-home test kits through the mail. The state government is offering 5 FREE at-home test kits through the mail to households that qualify. Visit the NC DHHS Website to place an order.
  • Find locations to get tested on site or pick up FREE test kits near you. The locations and hours of operation listed in the following resources are changing frequently, so always confirm the information with the provider:

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We're Here to Answer Your Questions

Public Health Hotline: 980-314-9400

Option 3 (English) or Opción 8 (Español)

Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

This hotline is for general questions regarding COVID-19 and vaccines.
If you have a medical emergency, call 911.