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Testing and Treatment FAQs

  • Is COVID-19 testing free? Where can I get free treatment?

    Last Updated: 07/24/2020
    Free COVID-19 testing is available at many locations across the state. Counties and cities have established free testing sites for local residents. To find a testing site near you, visit covid19.nj...
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  • How can I get testing or treatment for COVID-19 if I'm uninsured or undocumented? How do I cover health costs associated with COVID-19?

    Last Updated: 06/25/2020
    COVID-19 testing and treatment is available to everyone in New Jersey regardless of their insurance or immigration status. Below you will find resources for free testing and treatment as well as ho...
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  • What happens if I test positive? Will I get fired if I need to quarantine? Is there any help for medical treatment, paying the bills, or getting food and other essentials?

    Last Updated: 09/04/2020
    If you test positive for COVID-19, a New Jersey contact tracer will reach out to you with life-saving information about how best to protect yourself and your loved ones. COVID-19 is mainly spread f...
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  • What’s the difference between local testing, pharmacy testing sites, and private testing sites?

    Last Updated: 07/14/2020
    Testing is now available to everyone in New Jersey. It's especially important to get tested if: You are experiencing symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, sore throat, muscle pain, ...
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  • Can a person test negative and later test positive for COVID-19?

    Using the CDC-developed diagnostic test, a negative result means that the virus that causes COVID-19 was not found in the person's sample. In the early stages of infection, it is possible the virus...
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  • Should I get tested for COVID-19 antibodies? Can antibody testing tell whether someone has been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19?

    Last Updated: 06/26/2020
    Antibodies are produced by the body to fight infection and can be found in the blood. If a person's blood is found to have antibodies to a particular virus or bacteria, then it is likely they were ...
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  • I was tested for COVID-19. How do I get my results?

    Last Updated: 07/14/2020
    Please follow the instructions from your testing site on how to get your test results. Pharmacies, local testing sites, physician's offices, hospitals, and other testing sites operate independently...
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  • How is New Jersey increasing access to COVID-19 testing?

    Last Updated: 08/21/2020
    Expanding access to COVID-19 testing is a core principle of New Jersey's recovery plan for promoting public health and restoring economic health. New Jersey is: increasing diagnostic testing capac...
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  • Should I get tested if I do not have symptoms of COVID-19?

    Last Updated: 06/26/2020
    COVID-19 testing is now available to everyone in New Jersey. It's especially important to get tested if: You have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 You are an ess...
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  • Are antibiotics effective in preventing or treating the COVID-19?

    No. According to the World Health Organization, antibiotics do not work against viruses. They only work on bacterial infections. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not work. Antibioti...
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  • Should I take over-the-counter medication to reduce my fever if I think I have COVID-19?

    Over-the-counter options for fever reducers include ibuprofen and acetaminophen. The World Health Organization (WHO) has clarified that it does not recommend against the use of ibuprofen as a self-...
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  • How should I take care of someone at home?

    Most people who get sick with COVID-19 will have only mild illness and should recover at home.* Care at home can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and help protect people who are at risk for getting...
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  • What does pooled testing mean?

    To save supplies, especially in situations where resources are limited, and test more people, pooled testing may be implemented. Pooled testing means taking samples from multiple people, storing pa...
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  • Can I get tested for COVID-19 at a commercial laboratory, such as LabCorp or Quest?

    Last Updated: 06/25/2020
    No, you can not get tested for COVID-19 by taking yourself to a commercial laboratory. A commercial laboratory will not perform a COVID-19 test unless they have an order from a health care provider...
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  • Is it possible to use convalescent serum - antibodies from those who have recovered from COVID-19 - to treat others?

    This is a strategy that is currently being tested. The concept of giving antibodies from one person to another to protect from disease is called passive immunization. You may also hear about this i...
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  • How are suspected COVID-19 cases confirmed?

    People suspected of being infected by the COVID-19 virus will have respiratory samples (i.e. mucus) taken by healthcare professionals that will then be analyzed by public health labs, hospital labs...
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  • What does random testing mean?

    Random testing means selecting people for a test arbitrarily. Take, for example, a test meant to figure out how common COVID-19 exposure is in a town of 10,000 people. Testing everyone who works at...
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  • Should “contacts of contacts” be tested?

    Last Updated: 06/26/2020
    Being the contact of someone who had close contact with a COVID-19-postive person does not require testing. For example, if you have a coworker whose family member is a confirmed case, you are not ...
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  • Are commercial laboratories conducting COVID-19 testing required to share information with the Department of Health?

    Last Updated: 03/25/2020
    In a joint letter to commercial laboratory operators, Jared M. Maples, Director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness and the Chair of the New Jersey Domestic Security Prep...
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  • Is it possible to test if someone had the virus but is cured now?

    Serological tests (tests that look for antibodies specific to a bacteria or virus) are a common diagnostic for other infections and could be developed. A serological test could tell you if you have...
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  • How does the CDC COVID-19 test work?

    CDC recommends collecting and testing a single upper respiratory swab from the nostril. This sample is then processed. Using a technique called real-time reverse transcriptase (RT)-polymerase chain...
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  • How does a typical COVID-19 test work?

    The tests generally take a sample from a patient and process it so that the virus's specific genetic signature can be detected. Drafted 16 March 2020
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  • What do I do if I am sick?

    If you have a fever, cough, or other symptoms, you might have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. If you think you may have COVID-19, contact your healthcare pr...
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  • What happens when you get COVID-19 and it’s bad enough that you need to be treated in the hospital?

    Most hospital care involves management of conditions that happen as a result of a COVID-19 infection, for instance, pneumonia or severe respiratory distress. Most treatment for these conditions inc...
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  • Should I be tested for COVID-19?

    If you develop symptoms such as fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing sp...
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  • Are there therapies available to treat COVID-19?

    Scientists are currently testing different types of antivirals that work against influenza, HIV, and even Ebola, to see if they are effective against COVID-19 virus. Remdesivir is one treatment tha...
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  • Is there a test for COVID-19?

    Yes. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed a test that is used to diagnose the COVID-19 virus in most public health laboratories. In addition, many hospital and commerci...
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  • How do I know if I have the virus?

    Symptoms can appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure. Symptoms consist of fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. If any of those symptoms occur, call your doctor to discuss next steps or g...
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  • What symptoms should I look out for when taking care of someone at home? When do I know it is time to seek immediate medical attention for them?

    Have their healthcare provider's contact information on hand. If they are getting sicker, call their healthcare provider. For medical emergencies, call 911 and notify the dispatch personnel that th...
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  • How do I treat the symptoms of someone who is sick at home?

    - Make sure the sick person drinks a lot of fluids to stay hydrated and rests at home. - Over-the-counter medicines may help with symptoms. - For most people, symptoms last a few days and get bette...
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