Getting Tested for COVID-19

COVID-19 Symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

When to Seek Emergency Medical Attention

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Check the CDC for a complete list of symptoms.

Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: Notify the operator that you have, or think you might have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a cloth face covering before medical help arrives.

Getting Tested

There is no charge for testing at Hillsborough County’s COVID-19 public testing sites. To ensure that Hillsborough County is following federal guidance on COVID-19 coronavirus testing, health insurance providers are being engaged in the COVID-19 public testing process. Bring your insurance card with you to the testing site as you will be asked for this information. Individuals who do not have insurance will still be tested for free.

Testing Locations Operated by Hillsborough County

The following temporary locations will open on Saturday, Aug. 7 and will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. No appointments needed.

  • Palm River Park Community Center, 725 S. 58th St., Tampa, FL 33619
  • 1101 E. 139th Ave., Tampa, FL 33613

What to Bring:

  • Have a photo ID with name and date of birth for all persons being tested (can be Florida driver's license, state-issued ID, or passport)
  • Individuals who have health insurance should bring their insurance cards with them

Prepare for your Arrival:

  • These locations are walk-up and all testing will be conducted indoors.
  • You will be required to provide the following information:
  1. Full name
  2. Current address (where you are staying)
  3. Best contact information to reach you in case the result is positive

What to Expect:

  • You will be greeted by a health care provider in personal protective gear who will give you instructions.
  • A minimally-invasive nasopharyngeal swab test will be administered.
  • Depending on the type of test, it may take a day or two to receive the results. After taking the test, you will be given information on what to do while you await the results.

Testing sites are staffed by health care professionals in medical protective gear who are trained to test for COVID-19 coronavirus.

Other Testing Options

If you feel that you may need more immediate attention, please contact your primary care physician.

For additional testing sites near you, visit floridahealthcovid19.gov/testing-sites.

If You’re Sick

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says people who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to recover at home.

Here are some general guidelines to follow:

  • Do not leave, except to get medical care
  • Do not visit public areas
  • Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you feel worse or you think it is an emergency
  • Avoid public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis
  • Separate yourself from other people in your home
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Clean all "high-touch" surfaces every day
  • Wear a mask when around others

For more detailed information and guidelines for what to do when you are sick, visit the CDC website.

Testing FAQs

  1. Who can be tested at the public testing sites?

    Any Hillsborough County resident can be tested. You do not need to have COVID-19 symptoms.

  2. Does it hurt?

    The test is uncomfortable. Some people have reported it feels like getting water up your nose. Most people report that it is uncomfortable, but not painful.

  3. Can I get rapid testing at Hillsborough County’s testing sites?

    Rapid tests are the initial tests administered at the public testing sites. PCR tests are available upon request.

  4. Why are you testing persons who aren’t sick or who don’t think they have been exposed to COVID-19?

    Research shows that many people who have the virus may be asymptomatic, that is, showing no symptoms. Asymptomatic persons can unknowingly spread the virus to others.

  5. Is there a cost?

    The tests at the public testing sites are free. A doctor’s note or prescription is not required. Individuals who have health insurance should bring their insurance card with them. You will not be asked to pay a copay or deductible.

  6. What is the difference between a rapid test and a “regular” (PCR) test?

    Both tests are used to diagnose whether an individual has COVID-19 at the time the test is taken. Also known as a molecular test, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test detects genetic material of the virus. Processed by a lab, PCR test results can take up to a day or two. The rapid test is an antigen test that detects certain proteins in the virus. Specimens are processed on site and results are usually known in less than an hour. Depending on the situation, it may be recommended that you confirm the result of a rapid test by following up with a PCR test.

  7. What does “point-in-time” testing mean?

    The free tests available at the County’s community testing sites are intended to detect whether an individual has the virus at the moment the sample was collected.

  8. How old do you have to be to be tested?

    County testing locations have no age limitation, but minors must be accompanied by an authorized adult, such as a parent or guardian.

  9. When will the results be known?

    Rapid test results are known the same day. For PCR tests, it can take up to a day or two to receive results. In the meantime, people who were ill at the time they took the test should self-isolate at home, stay away from others, and wear a face covering if there is a need to be around others. More tips here.

  10. What happens if I test positive?

    You will be contacted and provided instructions.

  11. How can I access my test results?

    Securely view your results in the Florida Department of Health’s mobile app – Healthy Together. Provide your mobile phone number at the testing facility and get notified with a text when results are ready.

  12. Can I get Antibody Testing at Hillsborough County’s testing sites?

    A COVID-19 antibody test, also known as a serology test, is a blood test that can detect if a person has antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibody testing is not currently offered at any public testing site in Hillsborough County.

  13. If I was exposed to someone with the virus in the last 14 days, will a negative result on this test mean I don’t have COVID-19?

    No. It can take up to 14 days between when you are exposed to the virus and when you start to get sick. If you don’t have symptoms and receive a negative test result during this time, this does not mean that you were not exposed. If you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 it is important that you remain isolated from other people for 14 days from that exposure, regardless of a negative test result.

  14. Why is insurance information being collected?

    Bringing insurance companies into the testing process will help the County continue to effectively manage its financial resources and meet federal guidance regarding reimbursement of costs. Per the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), all insurance companies must pay for COVID-19 testing with no copay or deductible for tests that are medically necessary. People who do not have insurance will still be tested for free.