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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. 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.

Need your COVID-19 test results quickly? Learn about Antigen (rapid) COVID-19 tests.

FAQS

Hospital, Pharmacy, Medical Office, or Clinic – The time to receive results will vary and it is recommended that you ask the location at the time of testing. Rapid Antigen COVID tests take 10-15 minutes to view results and may be offered as an over-the-counter or as a take home test. Please contact your local pharmacy to learn which testing options may be available. If you are experiencing issues with results, please call the location of where you received your COVID-19 test.

County-run Testing Sites – Using both Fulgent lab and Healthvana for e-results, results will take between 24-72 hours. Results are delivered via email and text message. If you are experiencing issues with results or do not have access to technology to view your results, please call the County COVID Call Center at 909-387-3911.

State-supported OptumServe Testing Sites – Results will vary between 1-5 days pending on the demand level (i.e., if testing is popular the results may take up to 5 days) with the average being between 48-72 hours.  If you are experiencing issues with results, please call OptumServe COVID-19 testing hotline at (888) 634-1123.

Anyone can be tested for COVID-19. There is no age limitation for COVID-19 testing. Some COVID-19 tests do have a minimum age and it is recommend that you check with the testing facility, medical office, or manufacturer.

COVID-19 is spread in three main ways:

  1. Breathing in air that has small droplets and particles containing the virus. This type of spread is more likely to happen if you have close contact with an infected person. It can also happen when you are not in close contact with someone, especially if you are in enclosed indoor spaces with poor airflow and when you are exposed for a longer period.
  2. Small droplets and particles containing the virus that land in the eyes, nose, or mouth, especially through splashes and sprays like a cough or sneeze.
  3. Touching the eyes, nose, or mouth with hands that have the virus on them. It is also uncommon for COVID-19 to spread through contact with contaminated surfaces. This means that you are unlikely to get COVID-19 by touching your eyes, nose, or mouth after touching a contaminated item.

COVID-19 can be spread by people who are not showing symptoms or before their symptoms begin. COVID-19 testing is especially important if you are not yet fully vaccinated or if you have a weakened immune system.

NOTE: Close contact is defined as within 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period of some who tested positive for COVID-19, caring for someone with COVID-19 or living with someone with COVID-19.

Getting tested is easy. We recommend making an appointment with your local pharmacy or medical provider. We also have County-run and/or State-supported COVID-19 testing sites that can be found at sbcovid19.com/testing-sites. 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.

There may be a few different tests available depending on the location or facility. All County-operated testing sites currently use a self-swab nasal test. 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!

Other or private testing locations may use other collection methods, such as a nasopharyngeal specimen collection which is a nasal swab administered by a healthcare professional or a saliva-based test.

NOTE: In the State of California, wearing a face covering to your appointment is required.

If you are unable to make your appointment, please cancel it via the cancellation link in your appointment confirmation email. If you do not have an email address or internet, please call 909-387-3911 for assistance.

COVID-19 testing is offered at a variety of locations, pharmacies, and hospitals including nights and weekends. To learn more about days and operations for San Bernardino County sites, please visit: sbcovid19.com/testing-sites.

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 [i.e., a false negative result]. Your healthcare provider can work with you to determine how best to care for you based on the test results, 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.

No cost. 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. Walk-ins may experience a longer wait based on demand. Individuals who need assistance making an appointment can call the COVID call center for support at 909-387-3911.

We use self-swab nasal RT-PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, which indicate whether a person is currently infected with COVID-19 and the virus.

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).

Most people do not consider any current test method painful. 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/UjwpnMxoAJI (en Español).

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

For the latest guidance, when you or a family member test positive for COVID-19 please visit:

What to Do if You are Sick

If you test positive, stay at home and away from others. 

If you had active symptoms, per the CDC, you can be around others after:

  • 10 days since symptoms first appeared AND
  • 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications AND
  • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving*

*Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation​

Note that these recommendations do not apply to people with severe COVID-19 or with weakened immune systems (immunocompromised).

If you tested positive for COVID-19, but had no symptoms, per the CDC,

If you continue to have no symptoms, you can be with others after 10 days have passed since you had a positive viral test for COVID-19 and developed no symptoms after testing positive.

No, the County sites use a nasal (nose) swab.

If you are a medical provider, business, organization or school interested in an oral or saliva-based COVID-19 test, please view the following for a list of FDA-authorized options.

The following saliva-based COVID-19 test is sold on Amazon:
DxTerity Saliva Test

NOTE: The County does not endorse the use any specific brand or test.

Most COVID-19 PCR tests are more than 90% reliable. 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.

COVID-19 testing helps prevent others from being infected or getting sick by limiting exposures.

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 were not infected at the time your test sample was collected. However, that does not mean you will never be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. 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

Yes, you should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others. If your test is positive, isolate at home for 10 days.

Serology tests were designed to determine if an individual may have been previously infected with COVID-19 and now has detectable antibodies. Antibodies are proteins made by the immune system to fight infections like viruses and may help to ward off future occurrences by those same infections. Antibodies can take days or weeks to develop in the body following exposure to a SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) infection and it is unknown how long they stay in the blood.

For more information on Serology visit: FDA Antibody (Serology) Testing for COVID-19: Information and Consumers.

Different labs and locations may offer COVID-19 antibody testing, such as: Labcorp, Quest, CVS, and other pharmacies.

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.