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. VDH recommendations for prioritizing testing are summarized in the table here. If testing in the private sector is not available, clinicians may request testing for patients at DCLS by contacting the Arlington County Health Department.
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.
Visit the Virginia Department of Health map/list for information of known locations of various COVID-19 test sampling sites in Arlington County.
Walk-Up COVID-19 Sample Collection Site
Arlington Free Clinic, in partnership with Arlington County and the Virginia Department of Health, offers a walk-up sample collection site at the Arlington Mill Community Center (909 S Dinwiddie St.) for low-income, uninsured and under-insured residents ages 13 years and older.
Requirements for visiting the COVID-19 Sample Collection Site (open on weekdays from 1 – 5 p.m.):
- Residents must schedule an appointment before visiting the collection site.
- Appointments can be made by calling 703-912-0118 between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Staff can take calls in English and Spanish.
- There is no fee for the testing.
- No medical consultation and no insurance required.
- Residents with appointments may access the site 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).
Drive-Through Collection Site
Arlington County operates a drive-through sample collection site in partnership with Quest Diagnostics.
Location: 1429 N. Quincy Street, Arlington, VA 22207
Hours: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Patients must be 13 years and older.
- Patients must have an existing order for COVID-19 testing from a licensed healthcare provider. Physicians with symptomatic patients (fevers, chills, cough, or shortness of breath) can send orders electronically through their EMR by placing the order on a “PSC Hold” through their Quest Diagnostics account number.
- No appointment is needed, but one can be made online.
- 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.
- The collection method will be third-party observed patient self-collection.
Preston’s Pharmacy (5101 Lee Hwy) is offering COVID-19 testing. To make an appointment call 703-522-3412.
CVS is offering no-cost drive-thru COVID-19 testing at select CVS Pharmacy stores. Learn more and book an appointment on the CVS website.
Inova Urgent Care Respiratory Illness Clinics*
Inova Urgent Care – North Arlington is exclusively operating as a Respiratory Illness Clinic, open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Services include scheduled vehicle-side COVID-19 testing and walk-in COVID-19 evaluations. Inova Urgent Care also offers virtual COVID-19 evaluations.
*The presence of these links does not imply, and should not be interpreted as endorsement, sanction, approval or authorization of these sites or their content. Arlington County Government makes no guarantee or warranty, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of any material on any external website links.
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.