Who should get tested?
Testing is an important tool to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Anyone can get tested for COVID-19, including visitors to Vermont and international travelers. People with or without symptoms can be tested at most testing locations. Testing is free to all, and many sites now let you take your own sample using a short swab in your nose. You can either make an appointment or walk in.
The Vermont Department of Health recommends testing as soon as possible when:
- You have symptoms of COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated or previously had COVID-19. (You should also call your healthcare provider.)
- You are referred by your healthcare provider.
- You are unvaccinated and a person in your workplace or household or a person you attended an event with tests positive for COVID-19.
What should I do after I get tested?
Follow these instructions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and any directions you receive from the organization administering the test. The bottom line is that you should self-quarantine until your results are known.
What if my test result is positive?
If your exposure is confirmed through contact tracing or with a positive test, follow these instructions. You will hear from a contact tracer. The contact tracer will be interested in how you are doing and whether you are at risk of serious illness. They will gather information to verify your identity and so that they can continue to monitor and support you and your family. Note that contact tracing is free. If someone claims to need payment information, they are not a contact tracer.
Is an anterior nares test as reliable as the nasopharyngeal test?
First of all, let’s define these two complicated medical terms. The nasopharyngeal test is the one most commonly offered up until this point. It is administered by a medical professional. The sample collector puts a long swab up the patient’s nose and gathers the sample from very deep in the throat. If you haven’t experienced this sort of test yet, it makes your eyes water. The anterior nares test gathers the sample from the back of the mouth or inside the nose, not as deep. The benefit of the anterior nares test is that the patient, using simple directions, can collect the sample themselves. This saves valuable protective equipment. When the samples collected with both methods are processed the same way, they are believed to be similarly accurate. Differences in accuracy do exist between antigen and PCR tests, different manufacturers, and whether or not the person has symptoms.
What if I have a COVID-19 question that was not addressed here, or need to get personalized answers?
Call the SVMC COVID-19 Info Hotline at 802-440-8844. The Hotline is staffed by SVMC Registered Nurses Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Vermont Department of Health
New York Department of Health
Massachusetts Department of Public Health