I need a COVID-19 test, now what?

Edward-Elmhurst Health answers that question - and more

With cases of COVID-19 rising in Illinois, you may wonder if you need a test to check for the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

If symptoms of COVID-19 recently developed, or if a family member or close contact with has developed symptoms, you should get a COVID-19 test, according to Edward-Elmhurst Health.

Edward-Elmhurst Health has a screening options for COVID-19 page, eehealth.org/coronavirus/screening-options, which includes a symptom checker and COVID-19 Nurse Triage Line (331-221-5199) to help with next steps.

Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox has a similar page to check symptoms along with a free self-assessment at silvercross.org/patient-family/novel-coronavirus-covid-19.

I think I need a COVID-19 test. How do I get one?

Call your primary care physician. The doctor can determine whether a test is needed and order one.

Once patients have a physician order, they can schedule an appointment for a test at one of Edward-Elmhurst Health’s outpatient lab locations.

Or visit one of the Edward-Elmhurst Health’s immediate care or walk-in clinic locations to be evaluated and tested for COVID-19.

Testing is available to Illinois residents at Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) testing sites throughout the state. These testing sites are open to all, regardless of symptoms.

Or look for testing sites on the Will County Health Department website at willcountyhealth.org/COVID-19/testing-sites.

The IDPH also lists statewide testing locations at dph.illinois.gov/testing.

I don’t have COVID-19 symptoms. Can I still get a test?

If someone is asymptomatic but has had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, he or should contact their primary care doctor.

While waiting to take a test and while waiting for test results, isolate at home to avoid potentially infecting others.

I don’t have COVID-19 symptoms, but I want to know if I’ve had it. What can I do?

Serology tests, or tests that look for COVID-19 antibodies, may reveal whether someone had a past infection.

However, it can take days to weeks to develop antibodies that could be detected by a test after a COVID-19 infection.

At this time, it’s unknown how long antibodies remain in the body after an infection. It’s also unknown whether the antibodies will protect someone from future infection.

An order for antibody testing is required from your Edward-Elmhurst Health primary care physician and can be scheduled through Central Scheduling at 630-527-3200.

I tried to get a COVID-19 test, but I couldn’t get one. Now what?

Unfortunately, in many cases there are restrictions on who is eligible for a COVID-19 test due to limited testing capacity.

High-priority groups currently include symptomatic health care workers, first responders, elderly people and anyone with pre-existing chronic conditions.

The IDPH offers guidance on who should be tested, but decisions about testing are at the discretion of state and local health departments, health systems and/or individual clinicians.

If someone develops COVID-19 symptoms, he or she can call his or her primary care physician and schedule a virtual screening visit.

Or visit one of the Edward-Elmhurst Health’s immediate care or walk-in clinic locations to be evaluated and tested for COVID-19.

If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection but were not tested, self-isolate until:

At least 10 days since the start of symptoms;

AND At least 24 hours after your fever ends (without the use of fever reducing medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen);

AND you have significant improvement in respiratory symptoms (including cough, shortness of breath).

If symptoms worsen, contact the doctor to see if an order for testing would be appropriate.

When will I get my COVID-19 test results?

It could take 3 to 7 days to get test results.

People tested at Edward-Elmhurst Health will receive their COVID-19 test results through their MyChart account or from their doctor’s office.

What should I do after I get my COVID-19 results?

If a test is positive, remain isolated for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started or, if there are no symptoms, from the date of the test.

Continue to remain isolated until 24 hours have passed without a fever (without fever-reducing medication) and other symptoms have improved.

If someone was very ill, the doctor may determine if he or she needs to isolate longer, up to 20 days after the start of symptoms.

People who test positive should recall anyone with whom they came into contact in the two days before symptoms began or when they received the test. Those contacts might need a COVID-19 test, too.

If a test is negative, even if someone feels healthy and has no symptoms, self-quarantine for 14 days after the last exposure to COVID-19. A negative result before the end of a quarantine period does not rule out possible infection.

If symptoms develop, a second test may be needed.

For more information, visit eehealth.org/coronavirus.