Updated: Feb 20
COVID-19 testing is essential to controlling the spread of the virus and keeping our community healthy. In the early stages of the pandemic, tests were difficult to obtain but luckily, it's now much easier. At our clinic, we take walk-ins and can provide you with results in as little as 36 minutes. If you are wondering if you need to get tested for COVID-19, it can be helpful to understand current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other organizations. However, keep in mind that there are no longer restrictions for who can get a COVID-19 test in Arizona, so we can screen you for the virus even if none of these circumstances apply.
Official CDC Recommendations for COVID Testing
The CDC has updated its recommendations throughout the pandemic and remains the best official source for COVID-19 information in the United States. You can find their most recent guidelines for who should get tested on their website.
There are two groups of people who do not generally need to be tested when asymptomatic. The first consists of individuals who have been fully vaccinated. To be fully vaccinated, two weeks must have passed since the final dose of your immunization. The second group is those who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past three months and have recovered fully.
The CDC recommends that the following circumstances indicate a need to get tested for COVID-19:
Symptoms of the virus: COVID-19 symptoms include fever, chills, cough, loss of taste or smell, body aches, fatigue, headache, sore throat, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Even if you are fully vaccinated or already had the virus, you should be evaluated by a doctor if you have these symptoms and may still need to be tested, depending on the circumstances.
Close contact with an infected individual: If you have been within six feet of someone with a confirmed COVID-19 infection for a total of 15 minutes or more over the course of 24 hours, you should get tested.
High-risk activities: Some activities that increase the risk of contracting the virus include attending large social gatherings, traveling, or being in a crowded indoor setting.
Referral for testing: This category includes anyone who has been asked to get tested by their workplace, healthcare provider, school, or the health department for their state, tribe, territory, or locality. For example, this may be necessary if you are going to undergo a medical procedure in a hospital.
Other Circumstances for Asymptomatic Testing
In addition to the above reasons, you may need to get tested in order to travel to certain places or to fly with some airlines. This requirement is usually not necessary if you are fully vaccinated. We provide travel medicine services and can help you determine whether testing is required/recommended prior to departure and after you return.
You can also get tested simply for peace of mind, prior to seeing others, or at regular intervals if you spend a significant amount of time in the community. Insurance coverage may vary for tests that are not deemed medically necessary, so you should contact your insurance provider if you have any questions about this.
Fast and Accurate COVID-19 Tests in Tucson
At MD Acute, we use the GeneXpert for rapid COVID testing. This technology rules out false negatives and gives results in as little as 36 minutes and our polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is approved for flight clearance. This is the same test that other facilities offer with results in 48 hours or more.