COVID-19 Testing Information

COVID-19 Testing Information

The State of Illinois operates community-based testing sites where anyone can get tested for free, regardless of symptoms or other criteria.

Three kinds of tests are available for COVID-19: RT-PCR, antigen and antibody tests.  If you feel like you are infected with COVID-19, the Health and Human Services Department recommends residents get tested via the RT-PCR test, since this is the “gold standard” or most reliable COVID-19 test.   A link to Skokie testing locations and information on all three tests can be found below.  It is recommended that you visit each location’s webpage and/or contact the testing locations directly for more information regarding testing availability and information.


RT-PCR molecular Test (Gold Standard)

Antigen (POC) Test

Antibody Test

Testing Locations

Also known as...

Diagnostic test, viral test, molecular test, nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), RT-PCR test, LAMP test

Diagnostic test

Serological test, serology, blood test, serology test

How the sample is taken...

Nasopharyngeal (the part of the throat behind the nose), nasal or throat swab (most tests)

Nasal or nasopharyngeal swab (most tests)

Finger stick or blood draw

Saliva (a few tests)

How long it takes to get results...

Same day (some locations)

Some may be very fast (15 - 30 minutes), depending on the test

Same day (many locations)

or up to a week (longer in some locations with many tests)

or 1-3 days

Is another test needed...

This test is typically highly accurate and usually does not need to be repeated.

Positive results are usually highly accurate, but false positives can happen, especially in areas where very few people have the virus. Negative results may need to be confirmed with a molecular RT-PCR test.

Sometimes a second antibody test is needed for accurate results.

What it shows...

Diagnoses active coronavirus infection

Diagnoses active coronavirus infection

Shows if you’ve been infected by coronavirus in the past

What it can NOT do...

Show if you ever had COVID-19 or were infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 in the past

Antigen tests are more likely to miss an active COVID-19 infection compared to RT-PCR. Your health care provider may order a RT-PCR test if your antigen test shows a negative result but you have symptoms of COVID-19.

Diagnose COVID-19 at the time of the test or show that you do not have COVID-19