Testing

Testing

test strip with indicator strip

Testing is an important tool to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Anyone can get tested for COVID-19, including visitors to Vermont. People with or without symptoms can be tested at most testing locations. Testing is free to all. Make an appointment for your test.

find TESTING locations


Federal Free At-home COVID Test Program
Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 4 free at-⁠home, COVID-⁠19 antigen tests. The tests are completely free. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days. For technical support call 1-800-344-7779.

Order COVID TesT kits

Frequently Asked Questions about the federal program

Say Yes! COVID Test
We had an overwhelming response to the Say Yes! COVID Test offering. There are no more test kits available right now. We will keep Vermonters informed about any future opportunities to get rapid tests.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Say Yes! program


When Should I Get Tested?

  • As soon as possible if you have symptoms of COVID-19, even if the symptoms are mild, and even if you previously had COVID-19.
  • If you are a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19. See detailed information about when close contacts should get tested.
  • If you take part in activities that could put you at risk, such as attending a large social gathering, being in crowded or poorly ventilated indoor settings or traveling. Get tested 5 to 7 days after. You may also get tested before an event to protect those around you.

Waiting for COVID-19 Test Results

If you are being tested because you have symptoms of COVID-19 or are in quarantine, stay home and away from other people and wear a mask if you must be near others.

Learn more about what to do while you're waiting for your test result
Learn about how to isolate and notify your close contacts if you test positive

Test Types

There are two types of tests that can tell you if you are infected at the time of the test — Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAAT) and antigen tests.

 

Nucleic Acid amplification test (NAAT)

antigen test
Examples Includes PCR and LAMP. Also known as molecular tests. Includes Quidel QuickVue and BinaxNOW.
How long for results Up to 3 days. Some are rapid (around 20 minutes). Most are rapid, around 15 minutes.
How the test works Detects genetic material (RNA) within the COVID-19 virus. Detects proteins (or antigens) on the surface of the COVID-19 virus.

NAAT – PCR/LAMP Tests 

PCR and LAMP tests are generally the most reliable tests. Most Health Department test sites offer PCR tests, which need to be analyzed at a lab. Results are ready within 3 business days. Some sites may offer LAMP tests, which can provide results within an hour because the sample does not need to go to a lab for analysis. LAMP tests can be performed on-site or at home. 

Antigen Tests 

Antigen tests provide rapid results. They can be purchased at pharmacies or other stores and are easy to use. An antigen test can help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Antigen tests are used to end isolation because they look for proteins on the virus to tell if you are currently infected with COVID-19. PCR tests look for genetic material of the virus. Because the genetic material can remain in your body for up to 90 days after you had COVID-19, you could still test positive for COVID-19 even though you are no longer contagious.

When used to test people with COVID-19 symptoms, antigen tests have a higher chance of missing an active infection than a PCR or LAMP test. This means you could receive a negative result, but still be infected with COVID-19. If you have symptoms but get a negative result from an antigen test, we recommend a follow-up PCR or LAMP test to confirm your results. 

Vermont has issued an emergency rule requiring health insurers to cover the retail purchase of most FDA-authorized COVID-19 antigen tests. Learn more about how to get reimbursed for these tests and changes anticipated once the rule is fully implemented.

test details

test test type Self- test? instructions
PCR NAAT No You will be instructed at clinic.
Lucira LAMP
 
NAAT Yes Video on How to Use: ASL/English | العربية /Arabic | မြန်မာစာ/Burmese | دری / Dari | Français/French | Kirundi | Maay Maay | नेपाली/Nepali | پښتو/Pashto | Soomaali | Español /Spanish | Swahili | Tiếng Việt/Vietnamese
BINX NAAT Yes  
BinaxNOW Antigen Yes Video on How to Use: ASL/English | العربية /Arabic | မြန်မာစာ/Burmese | دری / Dari | Français/French | Kirundi | Maay Maay | नेपाली/Nepali | پښتو/Pashto | Soomaali | Español /Spanish | Swahili | Tiếng Việt/Vietnamese

Directions: English | العربية /Arabic | မြန်မာစာ/Burmese | Chinese - Simplified 中文 | Chinese - Traditional | دری / Dari | Français/French | Kirundi | नेपाली/Nepali | پښتو/Pashto | Soomaali | Español /Spanish | Swahili | Tiếng Việt/Vietnamese

Intrivo on/go Antigen Yes How-to Video
Quidel QuickVue At-home Antigen Yes Video on How to Use: English | العربية /Arabic | မြန်မာစာ/Burmese | دری / Dari | Français/French | Kirundi| Maay Maay | नेपाली/Nepali | پښتو/Pashto | Soomaali | Español /Spanish | Swahili | Tiếng Việt/Vietnamese

Quick reference instructions: English | العربية /Arabic | မြန်မာစာ/Burmese | دری / Dari | Français/French | Kirundi| नेपाली/Nepali | پښتو/Pashto | Soomaali | Español /Spanish | Swahili | Tiếng Việt/Vietnamese
iHealth Antigen Yes iHealth test - Video on How to Use: English | العربية /Arabic | မြန်မာစာ/Burmese | دری / Dari | Français/French | Kirundi | Maay Maay | नेपाली/Nepali | پښتو/Pashto | Soomaali | Español /Spanish | Swahili | Tiếng Việt/Vietnamese

Report Your Results

If there is no option to automatically report your self-test result, please report results (positive or negative) to the Health Department using this online form, Vermont COVID-19 Self-Test Result Reporting Form

Check the Follow-up Testing Guide to see if you need a follow-up test.

Find tips and learn more from the CDC about self-testing

Health Department Testing

Frequently asked questions about Health Department testing

Who can get tested?
Anyone can get tested at a Health Department testing site. This includes people of all ages who work in Vermont, are visitors to Vermont or are international travelers. Anyone under 18 should be accompanied by a parent or guardian or bring a signed parental consent form.

What kind of test is it?
The Health Department uses and recommends PCR and LAMP tests. These tests will tell you if you have a current infection. They are not serology/antibody tests, which means they will not tell you if you were infected in the past. 

If I am vaccinated, will I test positive for COVID-19?
None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently available will cause you to test positive on a PCR, LAMP or antigen test. The vaccines could cause you to test positive on some antibody tests. This is because your body develops an immune response when you get vaccinated.

Do I need to make an appointment?
Our testing and vaccination clinics are busy right now. It's important to make an appointment ahead of time so you will not be turned away. Find a testing location.

Do I need a referral from my doctor?
No. You do not need a referral from a doctor to be tested at a Health Department testing site.

Do I need insurance?
No. You may be asked to provide health insurance information when you make an appointment or when you go to the site, but you do not have to have health insurance in order to get tested.

Is the test free?
Yes. It is free to get tested at a Health Department testing site.

What is the test like? How is a sample collected?
Health Department testing sites use nasal swabs. This is a self-administered test, which means that you use a short, dry swab to collect a sample from just inside your nose.

If my family has appointments for self-test kits, such as Lucira test kits, can one person pick them up?
Yes. One family member can go pick up the test kits for other family members who have appointments. The person who picks them up does not need to have an appointment. For example, if three family members have appointments, one family member can go pick up three test kits for everyone who is registered.

Do I get out of my car for the testing? 
Some sites allow you to drive through, but most will require you to get out of your car to enter the space where the specimen will be collected. You will get instructions to follow when you arrive at the site. You may have to wait outside, so dress for the weather.

Do I need to identification with me?
We don’t require identification. We will ask you to verify your contact information.

Will I be screened for symptoms?
Yes. You will be asked if you have any current symptoms of COVID-19 at the testing site. You will still be able to get tested.

Can I get transportation to the test site?
Yes. Schedule your appointment, and then call 833-387-7200 at least two days before the appointment. 

Can I get an ASL interpreter to assist me at the testing site?
Yes. An ASL interpreter can be arranged at Health Department testing sites. Usually, the interpreter will work with you remotely, and you'll use a computer screen available at the test site. To request an interpreter, ask one of the public health workers at the test site.

Can I get an interpreter for a foreign language to assist me at the testing site?
Yes. An interpreter can be arranged at Health Department testing sites. Usually, the interpreter will work with you remotely by phone. To request an interpreter, ask one of the public health workers at the test site. There are some testing sites where foreign language interpreters are available onsite.

When and how will I get my results?
Find out about getting your test results.

What should I do while I wait for my results?
Read about what to do while you’re waiting for your test results.
العربية | မြန်မာစာFrançais | Kirundi | नेपाली | Soomaali | Español | Swahili | Tiếng Việt

Can I be tested at a Health Department testing site more than once?
Yes. You may come to a Health Department testing site to get tested more than once if you have reason to be concerned about infection.

How can I change or cancel my appointment?
The confirmation email that was sent to you has information about how to cancel or change your appointment. You can also call 802-863-7240 (select option 9, then select option 3) if you need help.

What to Expect

The Vermont Department of Health has partnered with CIC Health to offer COVID-19 testing at many sites in Vermont. These sites allow Vermonters to take their own samples using a short swab in your nose. Watch this video to learn how easy it is to do!

Administering Your Own COVID-19 Test - videos from the Vermont Language Justice Project
العربية | မြန်မာစာ | Español | Français | Kirundi | Maay Maay | नेपाली | Soomaali | Kiswahili | Tiếng Việt | English

Getting your test results

Test results are typically available within 3 business days. Business days are Monday through Friday. Holidays are not business days. If you were tested on a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, your results may not be posted until the following week. How you receive results depends on where you were tested.

If you were tested at a Health Department testing site and:

  • If you requested an electronic result, you can expect an email within 3 business days, when your result is ready. You can then log in to your COVID-19 testing account to get the result. You will not receive a letter.
  • If you requested a letter, you can expect to receive it within 7 business days. If you also provided an email address, you can expect an email within 3 business days, when your result is ready. You can then log in to your COVID-19 testing account to get the result.
  • If you do not have a COVID-19 testing account (you got tested as a walk-in) a patient ID was created for you and sent to the email you provided.  You will need to use the link in the email to confirm your patient ID. Once you confirm the patient ID, you can log in to your COVID-19 testing account and view your test results once they are available, which will be within 3 business days.

We cannot guarantee that you will receive your results in less than 3 business days. We also cannot accommodate special requests for receiving test results or rushed results.

If you receive a test result that is “inconclusive” or “indeterminate,” the Health Department encourages you to get retested. You are also encouraged to stay home away from others while you’re waiting for your result. "Pending" means your test results are not yet ready.

If you are having problems accessing your test results, call 802-863-7240, select option 9, then select option 3.

If you got tested anywhere else, the Health Department cannot provide your results. Please contact your health care provider, if they ordered the test or the facility that conducted the test.

Find out what to do while you’re waiting for your test results.
العربية | မြန်မာစာFrançais | Kirundi | नेपाली | Soomaali | Español | Swahili | Tiếng Việt

If You have a Positive Result

If you test positive for COVID-19, even if you are vaccinated or don’t have any symptoms, isolate as soon as you receive your test result and then notify your close contacts. If you miss a call from the Health Department, call us back at 802-863-7240.

None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently available will cause you to test positive on a PCR or antigen test.

Learn more about what to do if you test positive for COVID-19.

Serology/Antibody Test (not for a current infection)

Serologic, or antibody, tests identify people who have previously been infected with the COVID-19 virus and do not show whether a person is currently infected. 

If someone was infected with COVID-19, there will be antibodies in their blood whether the person ever felt sick or not. The testing measures the body’s immune response to the virus. It does not detect the virus itself. The COVID-19 vaccines could cause you to test positive on some antibody tests. This is because your body develops an immune response when you get vaccinated. 
 
With any test, there is always a risk of incorrect test results – false-positive and false-negative results. We need a good and accurate test we can rely on. The Vermont Department of Health convened a working group of experts to research antibody tests. Their findings conclude that at this time, the serologic (antibody) tests that are currently available would not produce results that are accurate or reliable enough for Vermont. The working group will continue to meet regularly and will be watching closely for changes and improvements in serologic testing. Recommendations may change based on new data. 

Though certain providers may offer antibody testing in Vermont, the working group cautions against using serologic testing to make decisions about individuals. For example, the test should not be used to establish “proof of immunity.” However, this type of test could help us better understand the population-level rate of infection from COVID-19 in Vermont. 

The CDC is working with commercial laboratories to estimate the percentage of people (link is external) who were infected with the COVID-19 virus. The strategy involves working with state, local, territorial, academic and commercial partners to better understand COVID-19 in the United States using serology testing for surveillance. 

Learn more from the Food and Drug Administration about COVID-19 tests
 

In This Section


Learn about when to get tested, and where to go for testing.