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7 Reasons You May Need a COVID-19 Viral Test


A COVID-19 viral test can help keep you and others safe by letting you know if you have the virus. Even if you're up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines, there are times when you may need to get a test. If you have questions about COVID-19 testing, talk to your doctor or check the CDC website at for information. Here are some reasons to get tested:

  • You have one or more symptoms of COVID-19.

    Your symptoms may feel like a cold, the flu, allergies, or an upset stomach. Even if these symptoms are mild, get tested right away.

  • You've been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

    It's important to be tested, even if you're up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines or you don't have symptoms. Get tested at least 5 days after you've been exposed.

  • You're traveling.

    You may need to be tested before and after you travel.

  • You're having a medical procedure.

    Your doctor may ask you to be tested.

  • You are asked to get a test.

    For example, your school or workplace may ask you to be tested.

  • You want to make it safer to be around other people.

    For example, you may need a test before ending isolation.

  • You're gathering indoors with people who don't live with you.

    This is especially important if you may be around people who are not vaccinated or are at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19.

If your test is positive, talk to your doctor right away or visit for more instructions.

Related Information


Current as of: May 28, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Lesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine
Heather Quinn MD - Family Medicine


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