When to Test
- If you have symptoms, test immediately.
- If you were exposed to COVID-19 and do not have symptoms, wait at least 5 full days after your exposure before testing. If you test too early, you may be more likely to get an inaccurate result.
- Consider testing before contact with someone at high risk for severe COVID-19, especially if you are in an area with a medium or high COVID-19 Community Level.
- The Health Department is no longer offering nasal swab PCR testing for COVID-19.
- Testing is available through your primary care provider.
- Additionally, many pharmacies, including the Walgreen’s in Denton, offer PCR testing.
- Search for available PCR testing through the CDC’s Testing Locator website.
At-home self-tests detect current infection and give you results in 10-15 minutes.
The Food and Drug Administration recommends people who get an initial negative result on an at-home test, take at least one more test 48 hours later. Take a third test, 48 hours after the second, if the second test was negative and you don’t have symptoms.
To get at-home tests:
- The Health Department has free at-home test kits available while supplies last. You can get them at any branch of the Caroline County Public Library or call (410) 479-8000 to request test kits for pick up. Limits may apply.
- As of September 25, 2023, you can order free test kits online from the federal government again. Visit the US Postal Service website to order.
- Talk to your insurance company. They may cover all or part of the cost of at-home tests.
- Ask your primary care provider if they have free test kits available.
Expiration Dates Extended on Many At-Home Tests
Many at-home COVID-19 tests have had their expiration dates extended. The Food & Drug Administration has a comprehensive table where you can look up the tests you have at home to see if they are good to continue using or should be disposed of.
In fall 2023, new Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were released. These vaccines replace the previous vaccines and have been updated to respond to the most recent dominant strain of the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends everyone 6 months and older get an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect against the potentially serious outcomes of COVID-19 illness this fall and winter.
Vaccination remains the best protection against COVID-19-related hospitalization and death. Vaccination also reduces your chance of suffering the effects of Long COVID, which can develop during or following acute infection and last for an extended duration. If you have not received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past 2 months, get an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect yourself this fall and winter.
Most Americans can still get a COVID-19 vaccine for free. For people with health insurance, plans will cover COVID-19 vaccine at no cost to you. People who don’t have health insurance or with health plans that do not cover the cost can get a free vaccine from their local health centers; health departments; and pharmacies participating in the CDC’s Bridge Access Program. Children eligible for the Vaccines for Children program also may receive the vaccine from a provider enrolled in that program.
How To Access the COVID-19 Vaccine
The federal government has now moved the primary vaccination program away from public agencies like the health department to other healthcare providers, like pharmacies and primary care practices.
As a result, the Health Department will no longer be holding COVID-19 vaccine clinics.
However, the shots are still covered by all major public and private health insurance and remain free. Additionally, the Walgreen’s in Denton is a Bridge Program participant and can offer free COVID-19 vaccines to those without insurance.
COVID-19 vaccines can be accessed through participating pharmacies and primary care providers. Use the button below to search for vaccine availability.
If you have COVID-19, you can spread the virus to others. Isolation is used to separate people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 from those without COVID-19.
It can be confusing to know when and for how long to isolate from others if you have COVID-19. The CDC provides more information on their website, including a calculator to give you specific guidance.
The following sources provide up to date, reliable information on COVID-19: