Testing for COVID-19

who should get tested

While anyone can get tested, not everyone needs to get tested.

The Health Department recommends testing for:

  • People with COVID-19 symptoms.
  • People who have had close contact (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • People who are referred by their health care provider for testing for another reason.

We do not recommend people get tested before visiting just to make sure they're okay. You could have already been exposed but may have been tested too early for it to show up on the test, or you could be exposed to COVID-19 after you are tested. Testing is not prevention, and a negative test does not necessarily mean it is safe to gather with others. 

We do not recommend people get tested frequently. We do not recommend routine, repeated testing just for peace of mind. While testing supplies are currently adequate, we need to use what we have wisely.

Travelers may get tested. If you have traveled to Vermont, you must follow quarantine requirements. You have the option to get a test on or after day 7 of quarantine and end your quarantine early with a negative test result.

If you think you should be tested for COVID-19, talk with your health care provider. If you don’t have a health care provider, call 2-1-1 to connect to care or contact the nearest federally qualified health center or one of Vermont's free and referral clinics.

where to get tested

If you need testing, there are a variety of options available to you: your primary care provider, pop-up test sites and pharmacies. The Test Site Finder below can help you find other testing near you.

Health Department Pop-Up Testing Locations

Here are the steps to set up a testing appointment at a pop-up testing site:

  1. Register to get an account
  2. Receive an email with your patient ID and use that to confirm your account (check your spam folder if you don't see the email)
  3. Log in with your patient ID
  4. Set up an appointment

REGISTER for pop-up TESTING
 

Date Site Town Street Address  
11/05 Barre City Auditorium Barre 16 Auditorium Hill
11/05 White River Junction Health District Office White River Junction 118 Prospect St.
11/04 Brattleboro Health District Office Brattleboro 232 Main St.
11/04 Rutland - Asa Bloomer State Building Rutland 88 Merchants Row
11/04 St. Albans State Office Building St. Albans 27 Federal St.
11/04 St. Johnsbury Health District Office St. Johnsbury 107 Eastern Ave.
11/03 Middlebury Health District Office Middlebury 156 South Village Green
11/03 Burlington Health District Office Burlington 108 Cherry St.
11/02 Bennington Rescue Bennington 120 McKinley St.
10/28 Montpelier High School Montpelier 5 High School Dr.
10/28 Hyde Park VFW Hyde Park 129 VFW Dr.
10/28 Rutland - Asa Bloomer State Building Rutland 88 Merchants Row
10/28 St. Johnsbury Health District Office St. Johnsbury 107 Eastern Ave.
10/28 St. Albans Downtown Parking Garage - level 3 St. Albans 26 Hampton Ln.
10/28 Brattleboro Health District Office Brattleboro 232 Main St.
10/28 Essex Alliance Church Essex Junction 27 Old Stage Coach Rd
10/29 Barre City Auditorium Barre 16 Auditorium Hill
10/29 White River Junction Health District Office White River Junction 118 Prospect St.
10/29 Burlington - 666 Riverside Burlington 666 Riverside Ave.
10/26 Bennington Rescue Bennington 120 McKinley St.
10/27 Burlington - Department of Labor Burlington 63 Pearl St.
10/27 Springfield Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse Springfield 21 Fairgrounds Rd.
10/27 Middlebury Health District Office Middlebury 156 South Village Green
10/27 Winooski - O'Brien Center Winooski 32 Malletts Bay Ave.

REGISTER for pop-up TESTING

Sign up to be notified of future testing events in your area!

Testing At Walgreens in Essex Junction and Brattleboro

Walgreens offers COVID-19 testing at 9 Susie Wilson Rd., Essex Junction and at 476 Canal St., Brattleboro. See if you qualify and schedule an appointment.

Testing at Kinney Drugs

COVID-19 testing for anyone ages 2 and older is available at several Kinney Drugs locations across Vermont. View locations and schedule an appointment.

Testing at Clearchoicemd

COVID-19 testing is available at ClearChoiceMD. Learn more and register.

Other Vermont Testing LOCATIONS

This COVID-19 Test Site Finder is not managed or endorsed by the Vermont Department of Health. The information is provided by Castlight: COVID-19 Resource Center with the latest, publicly available data. Please report issues or incorrect information

What to Expect at a Pop-up Testing Site

Frequently Asked Questions About Pop-up Testing

Who can get tested?
People in Vermont who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 can be tested for the virus at a pop-up testing site. This includes people who work in Vermont. We encourage people who are in quarantine who want a test to contact their health care provider, though they may also come to a pop-up testing site.

How do I register for pop-up testing?
Register online.

Do I need a referral from a doctor?
No, you do not need a referral from a doctor to be tested at a pop-up testing site.

Can children be tested?
Yes, children 12 months or older can be tested at a pop-up testing site. Anyone under 18 should be accompanied by a parent or guardian OR bring a signed parental consent form.

Will the test tell me if I have already had COVID-19?
No, the test will tell you if you have a current infection. It is not a serology/antibody test, which means it will not tell you if you were infected in the past. 

Do I need insurance?
You do not have to have health insurance in order to be tested, though you will be asked about insurance when you register for testing.

Is there a cost to the test?
No, there is no cost to be tested at a pop-up testing site.

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

The event is full - will you have more pop-up testing in my area?
We continue to gauge the need and the value for pop-up testing and will schedule accordingly. You can sign up with this form to be contacted via email if there are more pop-up testing dates scheduled in your area. 

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. 

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. 

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

What is the procedure like?
The specimen is collected using a nasal swab. This is a short, dry swab used to collect a sample from the front of your nose. 

When will I get the results?

  • If you asked to receive your results by email, you will receive an email when your test results are ready, within 3 business days. The email will prompt you to log in and get your results online where you may also print your results letter.
  • If you asked to receive your results by mail, you will get a letter within 7 days of being tested. 
  • If you have a positive result, our contact tracing team will talk to you about public health recommendations and ask questions about people you were in contact with. It is possible that the Health Department may contact you before your health care provider does.

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.

Can I be tested at a pop-up testing site more than once?
Yes, if you have reason to be concerned about infection, you may come to a pop-up testing site more than once. However, we do not recommend routine, repeated testing just to make sure you're okay before visiting another household, attending a gathering, or just for peace of mind. 

Getting your Test Results
How you receive results varies depending on where you were tested. 
 
If you were tested at a Health Department pop-up testing site,
  • if you asked to receive your results by email, you will receive an email when your test results are ready, within 3 business days. The email will prompt you to log in and get your results online where you may also print your results letter.
  • if you asked to receive your results by mail, you will get a letter within 7 days of being tested. 
  • if you have a positive result, our contact tracing team will talk to you about public health recommendations and ask questions about people you were in contact with. It is possible that the Health Department may contact you before your health care provider does.

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.

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.

If you received a positive result, the Health Department will also reach out to talk to you about public health recommendations and ask questions about people you were in contact with. It is possible that the Health Department may contact you before your health care provider does.

The Health Department only uses PCR tests.

Types of Tests

PCR Test

A PCR test is the most common type of COVID-19 test used today. PCR stands for polymerase chain reaction. The test identifies people who are currently infected with the COVID-19 virus.

PCR tests are generally the most reliable tests. Samples are analyzed at a lab, which usually takes up to a few days. A PCR test is used at pop-up testing sites offered by the Health Department.

Data on COVID-19 activity reported on healthvermont.gov includes only PCR tests.

Antigen Test

An antigen test for COVID-19 identifies people who are currently infected with the COVID-19 virus.

Antigen tests provide results much more quickly than PCR tests.

Though antigen tests may be available in Vermont, the Health Department only recommends antigen testing in certain circumstances:

  • For people who have symptoms of COVID-19. So far, studies on antigen tests have only been done on people with symptoms, and we do not have evidence about the accuracy of the antigen test on people without symptoms.
     
  • Health care providers may use antigen testing when PCR testing is not available or when results are needed quickly. This may be when people who are having symptoms get tested at their doctor’s office or when patients are being admitted to hospitals that don’t have a lot of PCR tests available.
     
  • Antigen tests may be used to screen people to identify those who need a more definitive test. Antigen tests are particularly helpful when used to test people in the early stages of infection (within the first 5 to 7 days of having COVID-19 symptoms) when the viral load is generally the highest. For example, long-term care facilities could screen residents and staff who are not having symptoms, but only if the tests were done at least weekly.

When used appropriately to test people with COVID-19 symptoms, antigen tests have a higher chance of missing an active infection than a PCR test. This means that if you have symptoms, you may receive a negative result but still be infected with COVID-19. A negative test generally requires confirmation with a PCR test.

We are monitoring how these antigen tests evolve and how results can best be used. Right now, people who test positive from antigen tests are not considered lab-confirmed cases and are not included in our total number of cases. However, we consider these cases "presumptive postives" and recommend they follow the same guidelines as a positive case to stay home (self-isolate). We would also conduct contact tracing and recommend a PCR test to confirm the positive result.

Serology/Antibody Test

Serologic, or antibody, tests identify people who have previously been infected with the coronavirus 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.

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 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.