What to Do If You Are Sick
Call your doctor: If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, and develop a fever, cough or other symptoms, call your healthcare provider for medical advice. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home.
- Keep track of your symptoms.
- If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), get medical attention right away.
If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, follow these steps to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home and community.
Testing for COVID-19
- A viral test tells you if you have a current infection.
- An antibody test tells you if you had a previous infection.
Testing capacity at commercial, private, and hospital laboratories performing SARS-CoV-2 testing continues to increase in Virginia. As a result in May, Virginia’s state laboratory, the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS), will transition its services to support public health testing. Until May 31, 2020, if testing in the private sector is not available, clinicians may request testing for patients at DCLS by submitting the online COVID-19 Testing Request Form.
The Arlington County Public Health Department, along with other public health agencies in the region, is not testing for COVID-19. You must contact your doctor to be evaluated.
Virginia Hospital Center’s Drive-Through Collection Site
On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the Virginia Hospital Center (VHC), in partnership with Arlington County, opened a drive-through COVID-19 sample collection site at 1429 N. Quincy Street.
This site is for sample collection from symptomatic patients (fevers, chills, cough, or shortness of breath) who have received a written order for COVID-19 testing from a licensed healthcare provider. This is not meant for asymptomatic patients, even those who have had a close contact with a known COVID-19 patient.
Requirements for visiting the COVID-19 Sample Collection Site (open on weekdays from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.):
- Patients must be 18 years and older.
- Patients must have a written order for COVID-19 testing from a licensed healthcare provider. Physicians with symptomatic patients can send orders to the Virginia Hospital Center outpatient lab electronically in EPIC or via fax to 703-558-2448.
- Patients must schedule an appointment before visiting the collection site. Once they have received a physician’s order, patients should call the VHC COVID-19 Scheduling Line at 703-558.5766 between the hours of 8:30 am and 3:30 pm.
- Individuals arriving at the drive-through site will be asked to remain in their cars. Patients must keep their car windows up at all times, until directed to do otherwise.
Walk-Up COVID-19 Sample Collection Site
Arlington County, in partnership with Virginia Hospital Center and the Arlington Free Clinic, opened its first walk-up COVID-19 sample collection site at the Arlington Mill Community Center (909 South Dinwiddie Street), on May 12, 2020. Arlington abre el primer sitio de recolección de muestras de COVID-19.
Requirements for visiting the COVID-19 Sample Collection Site (open on weekdays from 1 – 5 p.m.):
- To be tested, patients must obtain a clinician referral and then schedule an appointment by calling 703-558-5766. Patients must schedule an appointment before visiting the collection site.
- Residents without health insurance can still access testing through the walk-up collection site by calling the appointment number for a medical consultation and a referral for testing.
- Individuals who visit the collection site should follow the instructions of their health care provider and self-isolate while they await their results.
- Patients with an appointment may access the clinic at Arlington Mill Community Center by entering through the outdoor plaza facing Columbia Pike.
- Individuals must bring proof of identity (U.S. government ID not required).
Inova Urgent Care Respiratory Illness Clinics
What to Do After Testing
Individuals who visit collection sites are encouraged to follow the instructions of their health care provider and self-quarantine while they await their results. Test results will be available to the patient within five to seven business days.
If you test positive for COVID-19, see CDC’s guidance: If You Are Sick or Caring for Someone.
Anyone who is confirmed via lab testing with COVID-19 is investigated and monitored by the County’s Health Department:
- The health department conducts a “contact investigation” to identify additional people who came in close contact with individuals in order to decrease the spread of the illness. Those close contacts will be self-quarantined and actively monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms. If close contacts start experiencing symptoms, they will immediately be tested.
- The health department routinely conducts contact investigations for other communicable diseases like measles and tuberculosis–and now, COVID-19–to determine who is at high risk for exposure to stop the spread of the disease.
Virginia Department of Health: What to do if you have confirmed or suspected coronavirus disease (COVID-19)?
If you test negative for COVID-19, you probably were not infected at the time your specimen was collected. However, that does not mean you will not get sick. It is possible that you were very early in your infection at the time of your specimen collection and that you could test positive later, or you could be exposed later and then develop illness. In other words, a negative test result does not rule out getting sick later.