COVID-19 Testing Information

COVID-19 Testing Information

Getting Tested
If you are tested because you are symptomatic, you should isolate yourself at home until you receive your test results and follow the advice of your health care provider.
Who should get tested?

  • People who have symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection. 
  • People who have come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 should be tested to check for infection:
  • If you are fully vaccinated you should get tested 5–7 days after your last exposure even if you don’t have symptoms. You should also wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative. You should isolate for 10 days if your test result is positive. 
  • If you are not fully vaccinated, you should get tested immediately when you find out you are a close contact. If your test result is negative, you should get tested again 5–7 days after your last exposure or immediately if symptoms develop. 
  • People who are not fully vaccinated who have taken part in activities where they could not take steps to protect themselves from COVID-19 like staying at least 6 feet apart from others, travel, attending large social or mass gatherings, or being in crowded or poorly ventilated indoor settings.
  • People who have been asked or referred to get tested by their healthcare provider, or state, tribal, local, or territorial health department. 

People who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past three months and recovered do not need to get tested following an exposure or taking part in activities where they could not take steps to protect themselves, as long as they do not develop new symptoms. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Coronavirus Self-Checker is an interactive online clinical assessment tool that will assist individuals ages 13 and older, and parents and caregivers of children ages 2 to 12 on deciding when to seek testing or medical care if they suspect they or someone they know has contracted COVID-19 or has come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19. The online, mobile-friendly tool asks a series of questions, and based on the user’s responses, provides recommended actions and resources. Click here to access the self-checker tool.

Testing Sites

Types of Tests
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. 

CDC has a Viral Testing Tool to help you understand COVID-19 testing options. The tool helps people determine what type of test they should seek. After you get your test result, the tool can help you interpret test results and guide next steps. This CDC website will provide information such as Who Should be Tested and What Types of Tests are available. 

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