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.
When should you get a test?

  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, even after vaccination
  • If you have had close contact (within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more) with someone with confirmed COVID-19, even after vaccination
  • If you took part in activities that put you at higher risk for COVID-19 because you could not socially distance as needed, such as travel, attending large social or mass gatherings, or being in crowded indoor settings
  • If you have been asked or referred to get tested by your health care provider, or or state health department

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

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.

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