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.
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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.
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.
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.
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)
|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 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.
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.