COVID-19 Virus Testing (Current Infection)

How Do I Get a COVID-19 test?

Patients With Symptoms

No appointment is necessary. We will perform a medical evaluation to determine if a COVID-19 test is appropriate.

Patients Without Symptoms

If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19, but meet any of the other eligibility criteria, please schedule a PCR COVID-19 test.

Schedule COVID-19 Test

*The Centers in Colonial Heights, Virginia; and Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, Pennsylvania are no longer scheduling testing appointments. Instead, patients may walk into these centers 8 am to 10 pm any day of the week and receive a COVID-19 Test. 

Who is Eligible to be Tested?

Patients who currently have symptoms of COVID-19 or who meet any of the other eligibility criteria are eligible to be tested. The eligibility criteria are based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

  • Fever and/or Chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or Body Aches
  • Headache
  • Loss of Taste and/or Smell
  • Sore Throat
  • Congestion or Runny Nose
  • Nausea and/or Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • You are a healthcare worker or first responder.
  • You have had prolonged contact (e.g. live with or work closely with) a COVID-19 positive person or a person waiting for COVID-19 test results.
  • You reside in a nursing home or other congregate living facility.
  • You are a cancer patient who requires COVID-19 testing before beginning or resuming treatment.
  • You are required by your doctor, hospital, or outpatient surgical center to have COVID-19 testing prior to a planned surgery or procedure.
  • You are required by your employer to have COVID-19 testing prior to beginning or returning to work.
  • You are required by another entity to have COVID-19 testing, such as to attend school or camp, or due to travel/transportation requirements.

COVID-19 Virus Test - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Getting Tested

There are a couple of reasons we require asymptomatic patients to schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 test:

Asymptomatic patients are eligible for PCR testing but not for antigen testing, which is only recommended for symptomatic patients. There is a limited supply of PCR testing materials, and scheduled testing helps us ensure that tests are available for all patients who need them.

Our appointment-based system is designed to register and test asymptomatic patients quickly with minimal contact with other patients and staff. Our goal is to keep asymptomatic patients, who often need a COVID-19 test to return to work or school, get on a flight, etc., isolated from other patients who may have symptoms characteristic of flu, COVID-19 or other illnesses.

  1. Schedule an appointment by clicking here. (Please use a web browser other than Internet Explorer.)
  2. One hour before your appointment, you will receive an appointment reminder e-mail. The reminder e-mail will include an 'I'm Here' link with instructions to click the link when you arrive in the center's parking lot.
  3. Arrive on time with your picture ID and insurance card (if insured) on hand. Please do not enter the center's front entrance. Instead, click the 'I'm Here' link found in the appointment reminder email. You will be taken to a verification page. Confirm that your contact information is correct and click 'I'm Here' once again.
    • Please note, if you are unable to access the e-mail and click 'I'm Here', simply call the center when you arrive in the center's parking lot.
    • Furthermore, you are welcome and encouraged to park in one of the two reserved COVID-19 test patients' parking spots. The reserved spots are located near the center's side or back entrance and will be marked by signs and orange cones. Due to testing demand, patients who arrive early will most likely have to wait until their scheduled appointment time to be tested.
  4. Once you click the 'I'm Here' link, we will call you to register you over the phone.
  5. Once you are registered, a staff member will call you and direct you to a designated entrance located at the side or back of the center.
  6. The COVID-19 test sample will be collected in a designated testing room and then sent to the lab for testing.
  7. You will receive your result via text message or through a phone call from a nurse. Your choice for how you would like to receive your test result will be decided during registration.

    Your result will also be available on the Patient First Portal and the LabCorp Patient Portal (Virginia and Maryland Centers) or the Quest Diagnostics Patient Portal (Pennsylvania and New Jersey Centers).
  • Rapid Antigen Test: For patients with COVID-19 symptoms, with onset within the last 5 days.
  • PCR Molecular Test: For patients with COVID-19 symptoms with onset more than 5 days ago, and for patients without symptoms who meet the other eligibility criteria.
  • The rapid test is highly accurate for patients who have COVID-19 symptoms with onset within the last 5 days. However, it is less accurate for patients who do not have symptoms, or whose symptoms began more than 5 days ago.
  • The PCR COVID-19 test is available for patients who do not have symptoms, or whose symptoms began more than 5 days ago. This test is highly accurate for both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.
  • If you have insurance, we will submit our charge for your visit and exam to your insurance plan. Your insurance plan will determine whether you are responsible for any portion of the visit charge or the laboratory charges for testing. Patient First accepts most major insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid. 
  • For self-pay patients, there is no out-of-pocket cost for the exam if you are only tested for COVID-19 during your visit. If other services are received during your visit, they are subject to normal self-pay pricing.
Test Results
  • If you were tested because you had symptoms of COVID-19 or an exposure or possible exposure to someone with COVID-19, stay at home and self-isolate from other people and pets in a “sick room” and use a separate bathroom, if possible.
    • Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever of 100⁰F or above, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better.
  • If you develop trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake or bluish lips or face, seek emergency medical care immediately. Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility. Notify the operator that you are seeking care because you may have COVID-19.
  • The Rapid Antigen Test results are available in approximately 20 minutes.
  • The PCR Molecular Test results currently take 2 to 4 days in Virginia and Maryland, and 2 to 4 days for most patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
  • If you receive a Rapid Antigen Test, you will receive your test result during your visit. Test results usually take approximately 20 minutes.
  • If you receive a PCR Molecular Test, you will receive your result via a text message or through a phone call from the center nurse. Your choice for how you would like to receive your test result will be decided during registration.

    Your result will also be available on the Patient First Patient Portal and the LabCorp Patient Portal (Virginia and Maryland Centers) or the Quest Diagnostics Patient Portal (Pennsylvania and New Jersey Centers).

You can view and transmit your test result through the Patient First Patient Portal. The Patient First Patient Portal instructions, including how to view and transmit your result, can be found by clicking here.

You may also view and transmit your test result via the portal of the reference lab that performed the test.

For information on appropriate steps to take if your result comes back positive or negative, please click here.
Safety and Other Helpful Information
All of our Centers are taking extensive steps, based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), to provide a safe environment for patients who need care, as well as for our staff:
  • Upon entering the Center, a protective mask will be provided to each patient or visitor who does not bring his or her own mask. Please put the mask on correctly and wear it at all times while in the Center.
  • Each staff member will be wearing a protective mask as well.
  • After registration, patients may wait in their car until a treatment room is available, if they wish to do so.
  • Surfaces throughout each Center are thoroughly disinfected at regular intervals.
  • Air filtration and circulation systems in all Centers meet or exceed CDC guidelines for urgent care facilities. Fresh air from outside is continuously cycled into the centers while air from inside is continuously cycled out. Additionally, MERV 13 filtration systems, which deliver highly effective COVID-19 removal rates, are in place at all Centers.
  • Frequent hand-washing is required.
  • We ask any non-essential family members or companions of patients to please stay at home or remain outside of the center.
To learn more, including information about how to add COVID-19 Virus Testing to your employer account, click here.
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19 please walk into any Patient First, no appointment is necessary. We will perform a medical evaluation to determine if a COVID-19 test is appropriate. If necessary we will also test for flu, strep and other illnesses. For more information about what to do if you have symptoms of COVID-19, click here.
  • If you have serious symptoms including trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, difficulty waking up, bluish lips or face, call 911 or go to the closest Emergency Room immediately.

COVID-19 is spread person-to-person when infected individuals cough, sneeze, sing or even talk, sending contagious respiratory droplets airborne. These droplets can then land on or be inhaled by others who are nearby (within 6 feet). These droplets may also contaminate solid surfaces within the room and can get into your body if you touch the surface and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes.

With this virus, it seems that individuals can become infected even when the contagious person is not displaying any symptoms. The most common symptoms are similar to those of the flu: cough, fever, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

  • Stay home and avoid contact with non-houshold members.
  • Wear a mask when in public and practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, using the restroom, coughing, or sneezing. Use 60% or higher alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you cannot use soap and water.
  • If you need to sneeze, do so into a tissue. If one is not readily available, sneeze into your inner elbow. Wash your hands immediately afterwards.
  • Disinfect frequently-used items and surfaces regularly.
No, Patient First does not currently offer the COVID-19 vaccine. We will continue to post updates about the vaccine including potential COVID-19 deployment dates.
For more information and updates on COVID-19, please visit the CDC’s website here.