Although the vaccine has arrived and many people have already received their second dose, it’s still going to be several months until the US reaches herd immunity. That’s why it’s just as important as ever to get tested if you’re feeling any of the symptoms of COVID-19. Today, we take a look at the safest way for Sacramento residents to get tested.
How can you get tested for COVID-19 in Sacramento?
Getting tested helps you break the chain of transmission and prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is especially important since you cannot always tell the difference between the flu and COVID-19 without getting a diagnostic test.
There are three main ways to get a COVID-19 test in Sacramento.
1. Local in-person testing options
Facilities such as community testing centers, doctors offices, urgent or emergency care locations, and drive through sites can provide COVID-19 testing. You will typically need to make an appointment in advance of your test, although some walk-in clinics may be able to accommodate you for a same-day diagnostic.
While generally safe, clinics and community testing centers still pose the risk of exposing yourself or others to COVID-19, especially in common areas or shared waiting rooms. Families who require trips to separate testing sites due to clinic-based restrictions increase their chance of accidental exposure.
Visiting a traditional testing site may not be a problem for some individuals, but those who live with people in vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women or the elderly, may want a safer option.
Know before you go
It’s important to note that not all testing sites offer every type of COVID-19 diagnostic test, so you will want to check which types they do provide before making your appointment. You will most likely be required to fill out a health screening questionnaire, so be sure to complete this form before you go.
You’ll also want to check if there are any restrictions at your site. These include, but are not limited to:
- Drive-in services only
- By appointment only
- Cannot provide tests for very young children
- Cannot provide tests for seniors over a certain age
You can find the closest COVID-19 testing center to you on the Sacramento County website.
DIY COVID-19 testing kits are safer than in-person locations since you do not necessarily need to leave your home. As the name suggests, these kits come with everything needed for the patient to self-administer the test at home.
Although these tests are very safe, there are a few things to keep in mind about DIY kits.
- You are responsible for obtaining the test, either through picking it up at your local pharmacy or ordering it for delivery.
- You will then need to administer and send it to a lab within the time window indicated by the kit. Most labs do not process tests on the weekends, so kits need to arrive before the cutoff date as the samples do not last indefinitely.
- Currently, DIY kits contain the RT-PCR test, which must be sent to a lab for processing. Results are typically sent to the patient within 3 – 7 business days. The turnaround time may not be ideal for those who need answers quickly.
At-home medical services
Another way to find a PCR COVID test available in Sacramento is with a mobile medical service. This option is by far the safest way to get tested for COVID-19 since you don’t need to visit an in-person testing site or pick up a DIY test at a local pharmacy.
There are a few key advantages of COVID-19 testing at home:
- Groups and families can get tested at the same time, eliminating the need for multiple trips to testing sites.
- In-home medical services do not have age-based limitations and can test the very young and very old.
- You don’t have to deal with the hassle of obtaining, administering, and sending out DIY kits.
- You also don’t have to worry about whether or not you have performed the test correctly, since your test is administered by a licensed clinician.
- Your clinician has access to a wider variety of tests than you can get with DIY tests.
At-home testing is as simple as it is safe. Your nurse will arrive at your home with all the equipment needed for your appointment, then administer the test in your location of choice. Depending on the type of test you choose, your test will either be processed on-site with same-day results or taken to a lab for results within 3 – 7 business days. Your nurse will provide medical guidance as to what you should do next if you or someone in your family tests positive.