Find a Coronavirus Testing Site Near You

Nov 24, 2021

Healthfirst is partnering with New York City in the COVID-19 fight to help keep our members and communities safe. Fighting COVID-19 requires that each of us gets tested when we have symptoms.* Free and convenient testing sites for COVID-19 are available, with different options (many on a walk-in basis, with no appointment necessary).

*Unvaccinated people should also get tested when they have a known exposure to COVID-19. Vaccinated people may refrain from testing after exposure unless they have symptoms.

Testing Options

Speak with your doctor about the best testing option for you. Testing options include the following:

Antigen tests usually provide results faster than molecular tests, and can be processed in a healthcare provider’s office, rather than in a laboratory, which is why they can return results quickly. At-home test kits are also available at CVS Pharmacy® and other retail stores. However, they are more likely than molecular tests to return false-negative test results (the test result is negative even though the person has COVID-19). False-positive rates are low, however. A positive test result usually means an infection is present, but some infections can be missed—especially if there are no symptoms. In certain cases, healthcare providers may recommend a follow-up molecular test to confirm the results of an antigen test. In addition, at-home COVID-19 test kits are covered for Medicare Advantage Life Improvement Plan (HMO D-SNP)  and Healthfirst CompleteCare (HMO D-SNP) members under their OTC benefit.

Molecular tests (nose or throat swab or saliva test), such as PCR tests, are the most reliable way to test for COVID-19. However, they can take more time to get results—sometimes days. They can detect the virus even if there is only a small amount in your system. They usually require the specimen to be sent to a laboratory, which is why it may take a few days to receive results. At-home PCR tests are available through LabCorp if medically needed. To get a LabCorp at-home test:

  • Ask your primary care provider (PCP). Your PCP will order the home test if needed, or
  • Visit the LabCorp website. Take the questionnaire to determine your eligibility.

A unique process used at COVID-19 express testing sites allow for molecular tests to return results usually within a few hours.

Source: COVID-19: Testing - NYC Health

When to get tested

People who have received the COVID-19 vaccine

do not need to get tested, unless they have symptoms of COVID-19 such as coughing, sneezing, a sudden loss of taste or smell, or shortness of breath, or if they are required to do so for work, school, or another reason.*

If you’re not fully vaccinated, you should get tested:

  • immediately if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • three to five days after having close contact (being within six feet for at least 10 minutes more than a 24-hour period) with someone who had COVID-19, after returning from travel, or after attending a large indoor gathering. If you have had close contact, you must quarantine for 10 days after exposure, regardless of your test result.
  • before you go to a large event or visit someone who is not vaccinated and at increased risk of severe COVID-19. Cancel your plans if you test positive, have symptoms of COVID-19, or had recent close contact with someone when they had COVID-19.
  • periodically (such as monthly), if you have frequent in-person interactions with others at work or socially, especially if you are in close contact with people without face coverings in indoor settings.

*Healthfirst generally does not cover COVID-19 surveillance testing, otherwise known as testing for employment, education, travel, or entertainment (e.g., public health or social purposes).

What happens if I test positive?

If you test positive, you'll receive a call from a NYC Test & Trace Corp. member who will:

  • determine if you need more medical attention,
  • help you arrange to isolate at home or at a free hotel,
  • create a list of everyone you had contact with before the onset of symptoms.

You should stay home until all the following have happened:

  • ten days have passed since symptoms started,
  • fever has resolved for at least 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medicine,
  • all other symptoms have improved.*

What if I cannot safely separate from others at home?

If you have COVID-19 or live with someone who does and cannot safely separate at home, you may be able to stay in a hotel for free for up to 14 days. Information about the NYC COVID-19 hotel program is available here, or call 1-212-COVID19 (1-212-268-4319) to book a room.

Should I be tested after recovering from confirmed COVID-19?

No. Repeat testing is not recommended at this time. As mentioned above, for patients recovering at home, it is possible to assume that someone can no longer spread the virus if:

  • ten days have passed since symptoms started,
  • fever has resolved for at least 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medicine,
  • all other symptoms have improved.

Note that guidance is slightly different for those who had infection without symptoms. Please contact your primary care provider (PCP) for specific guidance.

*Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation​.

Should I be tested for antibodies after recovering from suspected COVID-19 to show that my past illness was, in fact, COVID-19?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID antibody testing should not be used at this time to find out if you are immune to (“protected from”) COVID. Although it is understood that the presence of antibodies (specifically, IgG antibodies) could indicate some level of immunity to COVID-19, more research is needed on this subject. Even if antibody testing is conducted, the result should not change guidance on preventive steps to take. Everyone, regardless of test result, is still recommended to get vaccinated.

What if I cannot safely separate from others at home?

If you have COVID-19 or live with someone who does and cannot safely separate at home, you may be able to stay in a hotel for free for up to 14 days. Information about the NYC COVID-19 hotel program is available at nychealthandhospitals.org/test-and-trace/take-care or call 1-212-COVID19 (1-212-268-4319) to book a room.