Do I Have COVID-19? What If I Have Questions?
People who are part of a high-risk job category can call 303-692-2700 to be directed to a testing facility.
Do you need a test?
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle pain, new loss of taste or smell, and chills.
If you have symptoms that could be COVID-19, getting tested will provide the diagnosis you need to determine your next steps. If you test positive, you will know that you need to isolate yourself, take care of yourself, and monitor your symptoms. The people who have been in contact with you will need to take precautions. You can also “do your part” and get text messages with more information about support available by reporting your symptoms to CDPHE’s symptom tracker.
In general, you do not need a test if you do not have symptoms. If you think you have been exposed, limit your contact with other people. However, if you work in a care facility, work at a facility with an outbreak, or you have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, it may be advisable to get a test even if you don’t have symptoms.
What if I am afraid to get tested because of the impacts on my life or job?
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, it is important for you to know that worker protections are in place to ensure that you can isolate yourself, both for your own health and recovery and for the safety of everyone around you.
Federal law requires up to two weeks paid leave for those who work for employers with fewer than 500 employees (though some employers with 50 or fewer employees may be exempt). The Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay Rules (“Colorado HELP Rules”) adds coverage for workers as well. Read more in the FAQ
Additionally, there are many resources available to help you if you need to isolate or quarantine, including help with food and personal financial help.
Where can I get tested?
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, consider a telehealth visit or nurseline advice before seeking in-person care. Ask your primary care provider if they offer telehealth visits, or call one of Colorado’s nurselines.
What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?
If you have mild symptoms, follow the instructions on how to isolate. If you think you need medical advice, consider a telehealth visit or nurseline advice before seeking in-person care. Medical professionals can help you decide what medications to use to treat your symptoms.
Letters for work must come from a health care provider. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment does not have, and cannot provide, you with a letter clearing you to go back to work Public health does not require people to have a negative test to return to work. If your employer is requiring this, you may want to contact your doctor, or another health care provider, or direct your employer to this website.
Tested for COVID-19? Here's what to expect
Types of tests
- A molecular amplification test, also known as PCR testing, detects genetic material from a specific virus in patient samples.
- It is the most accurate, FDA-approved testing available at this time for COVID-19.
- While this test detects current infection from COVID-19, it is not useful in determining past exposure in fully recovered patients.
- A serological test is a blood test that looks for antibodies in your blood. It can detect the body’s immune response to the infection caused by the virus, rather than detecting the virus itself.
- While these tests can detect previous exposure to COVID-19, they cannot reliably determine if a patient is currently infected and able to spread the virus to others.
- Because much is still unknown about how long immunity may last following COVID-19 infection, these tests may give a false sense of safety to patients.
- Antibody tests may cross react with other respiratory viruses resulting in false positive results. Due to this cross reaction, it is recommended that all serologic testing should be paired with PCR testing to confirm infection.
During the ongoing COVID pandemic, many companies are distributing rapid serological test kits to detect antibodies in COVID-19 patients. As of April 21, 2020, none of these tests have been evaluated or approved for this type of use.
CDPHE discourages the use of any serological test that has not been approved by the FDA or at the state level, for any purpose other than research. Furthermore, until better information about test accuracy and immunity following infection is available, CDPHE recommends against using unapproved antibody testing for purposes other than epidemiological studies, convalescent plasma donation and research.
If and when any of these issues are meaningfully resolved, CDPHE will update guidance accordingly.
~Colorado Department of Public Health