Home Testing

COVID-19 Testing

Community COVID-19 testing sites are being held throughout San Bernardino County. Samples will be collected using a swab in the nostril or in the mouth. These samples are then sent to a lab to test for the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS‑CoV‑2 virus).

Due to an increased demand in COVID-19 testing, appointments are highly recommended. Walk-ins will experience longer wait times.

FAQS

The County has significantly expanded COVID-19 testing over the past several months. Since the pandemic began in March, we have conducted more than 800,000 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, which indicate whether a person is currently infected with the coronavirus. We have also conducted some 20,000 serological tests, which may show whether an individual has antibodies indicating they successfully fought off the disease.

San Bernardino County is currently operating 11 COVID-19 testing sites and several one-day testing sites, strategically located throughout the 20,000-square-mile County, as well as six County Health Centers that provide care to underserved and vulnerable populations. In partnership with the California Department of Public Health, we also have three state testing sites in the county. Please refer to the State Testing sites tab. Additionally, private clinics, certain Rite-Aid Pharmacy locations, and HMO-operated facilities are also offering COVID-19 testing.

In the early weeks of the pandemic, testing was limited to certain at-risk individuals or frontline healthcare workers. However, we are now encouraging everyone to get tested — whether or not you have shown any symptoms of the disease.

I do not have any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19. Why should I get tested?

Studies have shown that many infected people show no symptoms of the disease, otherwise known as an asymptomatic carrier. That means that most of the people who carry the virus do not know it. Simply put, it’s possible that thousands of infected people could unknowingly spread the disease.

Moreover, our ability to open certain sectors of the economy and keep them open depends on our meeting certain criteria set by the state of California. These indicators include the number of test conducted and positivity rates. If we can show we are testing a large number of people — while keeping the percentage who test positive down — we will be permitted to reopen additional schools and businesses.

Getting tested is easy. Although we recommend making an appointment on the COVID-19 Testing Sites web page (which can be accessed from the sbcovid19.com website), all County testing sites allow walkups. There may be a few different testing methods depending on the location or facility. All County-operated testing sites currently use a self-swab nasal test, while state and private sites my use other collection methods, such as a nasopharyngeal specimen collection which is a nasal swab administered by a healthcare professional. For a step-by-step guide on how to complete a self-swab nasal test, watch this video: https://youtu.be/UjwpnMxoAJI (en Español). It’s simple, quick and painless!

Testing takes 10-15 minutes. Sometimes there is a wait time so please prepare by using the restroom ahead of time, bring water to stay hydrated and something to keep yourself entertained while you wait. Wearing a face covering to your appointment is required.

It is very important that you keep your appointment. If you are unable to make your appointment, please cancel it via the cancellation link in your appointment confirmation email.

The self-swab nasal test is simple, quick and should not hurt. For a step-by-step guide on how to complete a self-swab nasal test, watch this video: https://youtu.be/UjwpnMxoAJI (en Español).

The County’s COVID-19 website has a section devoted to testing site locations and hours.  Click here for more information.

No, a doctor’s prescription is not required.

Potential risks include:

Possible discomfort or other complications that can happen during sample collection. Possible incorrect test result. (There is a very small chance that this test can give a negative result that is wrong [a false negative result]. Your healthcare provider can work with you to determine how best to care for you based on the test results based on your medical history and symptoms.)

Potential benefits include:

The results, along with other information, can help your healthcare provider make informed recommendations about your care. The results of this test may help limit the spread of COVID-19 to your family and others in your community.

There is no cost for receiving the test. When you sign-up for an appointment online, you will be asked some basic information, including the name of your insurance provider, policy number and the name of your physician. Providing that information allows the County to file a claim with your insurance company and obtain reimbursement for the costs associated with your test. You will NOT be charged a co-pay, and the cost of the test will not be applied to your deductible. If you do not have insurance, you will be given the option of skipping that section of the appointment registration process. Either way, you will not be charged for taking the test.

While an appointment is suggested, many sites allow walkups to get tested. Visit sbcovid19.com and go to the COVID-19 Testing Sites page.  For more information. Individuals with no internet access or who have access/functional needs can call to make an appointment at 909-387-3911

These are PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, which indicate whether a person is currently infected with the coronavirus. There is another COVID-19 related test, which is referred to as a serological test. It detects antibodies that your body has produced to combat the coronavirus. The hope is that such antibodies provide some level of immunity to the disease; unfortunately, the scientific evidence for that remains unclear. The serological test does not replace a PCR test and isn’t used to diagnose COVID-19. The County is not currently conducting serology testing at community events.

Most people do not consider any current test method painful, but the nasal self-swab test used at County testing sites is certainly the easier and less invasive of the different testing options. To see how to properly use the nasal self-swab test, visit https://youtu.be/x7PTJBOIsQU (en Español).

With a nasopharyngeal collection, a healthcare professional will gently pass a sterile cotton-tipped swab through the nostril and into the nasopharynx, which is the upper part of the throat behind the nose.

Test results are usually available within 48 hours, but can be up to 3-5 days. If you test positive, Public Health staff (or a health care provider) will call you as soon as possible. If you test negative, you will not receive a call from Public Health. Test results are delivered to the participant via patient portal or other electronic means such as email or text message. Information regarding the delivery of test results will be provided at the test location. If you have not received your test results from a County testing site within 5 days, please call the Test Results call center at 909-387-5155. If you test positive or negative for COVID-19, you should still should take preventive measures to protect yourself and others.

The PCR test only indicates whether or not you are currently infected with the coronavirus. It does not show whether you were previously infected and successfully fought off the disease.

If I test positive, do I have to “self-quarantine”? For how long? Are you going to put my name in a database?

If you test positive, stay at home and away from others for at least 14 days, starting from the date you were tested. If living conditions make it difficult for you to stay away from others (such as family/household members), stay in a specific room and away from other people and even pets in your home as much as you can. If possible, you should use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a cloth face covering. (Additional guidance is available for those living in close quarters and shared housing). Click here to learn more about how to take care of yourself and help protect others in your home and community.

If you test positive, your patient information will be entered into the California Reportable Disease Information Exchange (CalREDIE), a secure system that the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has implemented for electronic disease reporting and surveillance. The public cannot access your information in CalREDIE; access is limited to a select group of healthcare and public health professionals.

No. A negative test should not be seen as your chance to stop being cautious. A PCR test only confirms your status with the virus at the time of testing.

The tests are more than 90% reliable but it is possible to get a ‘false negative’ result. If you have tested negative for COVID-19, but you are showing COVID-19-like symptoms, have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, or attended a gathering of people outside your immediate household, you should get tested again.

We are searching aggressively for asymptomatic carriers, meaning people who have the virus but are not showing any symptoms. This is especially important now that the County is reopening businesses and public facilities. Our goal is to avoid large increases in new cases, which could threaten our efforts to relax stay-at-home orders mandated by the state. That requires identifying those who are infectious but have not (and likely will never) develop symptoms.

Widespread testing will give us a better idea of how many people are sick, and help us research infection pathways for COVID-19. It also provides a more accurate understanding of what new infections look like and the extent of community spread throughout the County overall.

Finally, for our economy to recover, it is essential for people to feel safe in public. Only then will they be comfortable patronizing stores, restaurants and other recently opened businesses.

While we are encouraging all residents to get tested, it is particularly important for people who have frequent contact with the public, including delivery drivers, emergency workers, and those who work in retail, food service or high-density workplaces.

If you test negative for COVID-19, you probably were not infected at the time your sample was collected. However, that does not mean you will never be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. The negative test result means that you did not have COVID-19 at the time you tested. There is a chance that you may be exposed again, immediately after being tested. Testing is available to anyone, even if you don’t have symptoms, but it is important to get tested if you:

•          Are showing symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough and shortness of breath

•          Are aged 65 years and older

•          Have underlying medical conditions

•          Are a healthcare worker or first responder

•          Work or live in places where many people live, such as long-term care facilities or prisons

•          Have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

•          Have been in gatherings and/or large crowds

If you are someone who has frequent contact with the public, or shares a household with anyone in a higher-risk population, the Department of Public Health recommends getting tested monthly.

Prevention

• Clean Hands Often
• Avoid close contact
• Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
• Cover cough and sneezes
• Clean and disinfect

Symptoms

• Fever
• Cough
• Shortness of breath

Other symptoms may also include chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain or aches, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell. People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and may have had contact with a person with COVID-19, or recently traveled to countries with apparent community spread, call your health care provider before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.

If You Are Sick

• Stay home except to get medical care
• Separate yourself from other people and pets in your home
• Monitor your symptoms
• Call ahead before visiting your doctor
• Clean and disinfect
• Wear a cloth covering over your nose and mouth
• Clean your hands often
• Avoid sharing personal household items
• Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday.