Testing for COVID-19

On May 11, 2023, the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency ended and all Washington state standing orders for COVID-19 testing are no longer available for use. We are currently reviewing and updating our webpages and supporting resources to reflect any changes to COVID-19 testing resources, access, and supplies. We encourage you to check back soon for updated information on Washington state COVID-19 testing. For more information, read Federal Public Health Emergency ends: How does this impact community testing? (PDF).

Why Get Tested

Testing saves lives. Testing allows people to take precautions, like isolating, in a timely manner to stop the virus from spreading; infected people without symptoms can still spread the virus. Testing also helps public health officials identify and respond to outbreaks, and to track new variants of the virus.

When to Get Tested

  • Test when you feel sick. COVID-19 has a wide range of symptoms, so if you’re not feeling well, it’s best to get tested as soon as possible.
  • Test when you’ve been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Get tested immediately if you’re showing symptoms. If you’re not showing symptoms, follow the guidance in What To Do if You Were Potentially Exposed to Someone With COVID-19 (PDF) for when to get tested.
  • Businesses and event spaces in Washington may have testing and/or vaccination requirements before entering an establishment or event. Call ahead or check their website before you visit.
  • You may need to test before and/or after traveling. Check the CDC’s latest travel guidance.
  • When you’re going to gather with a group of people, especially those who are at risk of severe disease or may not be up to date on their COVID-⁠19 vaccines.

Who Can Test?

Anyone can get tested for COVID-19, no matter your age. DOH updated COVID-19 testing guidance as of Dec. 5, 2022, to allow the safe use of at-home rapid antigen testing for children under 2 years of age. We recommend that children under 2 years of age are tested by a parent or caregiver. Please see the instructions for use that come with the test for specific directions on testing children. For example, iHealth instructions state: “With children, the maximum depth of insertion into the nostril may be less than 3/4 of an inch, and you may need to have a second person to hold the child’s head while swabbing.”

Where to Get Tested

The WA State Department of Health website maintains a directory of testing sites available in each county, with operating hours and requirements. You can also check with your local health department or district. For additional information on testing sites, call the DOH information line: 1-800-525-0127. Language assistance is available.

  • Over-the-counter test kits are available to purchase from online retailers and in pharmacies for convenient, at-home testing.

Types of Tests

The current tests available include rapid antigen tests, molecular tests (both lab-based and point of care), and some home self-tests. Supply of any particular test varies according to demand and manufacturer capacity.


  • Insurance providers will now reimburse families for up to eight tests per month. Learn more about insurance reimbursement.
  • There are no out of pocket cost for tests performed at county or state-supported test sites. Many tests, particularly for people experiencing symptoms, can be billed to insurance or subsidized by the Department of Health.
  • You can also purchase an at-home test at local or online retailers and pharmacies. No insurance or prescription is required.

How to Take an At-Home Test

What To Do if You Think Your Tests Are Expired

Before you throw away your expired COVID-19 tests, be sure to check if the shelf life was extended. This one-page information sheet has expiration details by test type, as well as helpful information on quality controls to ensure the test is working properly. You can expect the tests to continue to receive expiration date extensions as additional performance data is tracked by the FDA.

If you have questions, check out our frequently asked questions about expired COVID-19 tests (PDF).

When to Isolate

You may need to isolate prior to taking your test and after receiving your results. See the COVID-19 Symptom Decision Trees (PDF) for information on what to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms. See What To Do if You Test Positive for COVID-19 (PDF) for information on what to do if you test positive, including isolating.

Follow Up

Stay home as much as possible if you have symptoms. If you test positive for COVID-19, the good news is there are steps you can take to help keep yourself and others safe. Further information can be found here: What To Do if You Test Positive for COVID-19 (PDF).

Treatment Resources