Testing for COVID-19

  • COVID-19 tests are most urgent for people experiencing symptoms including fever, shortness of breath or new cough, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting or diarrhea, or for patients with a provider’s order (for example, a required test for a scheduled surgery).
  • COVID-19 tests are also available for people who do not have symptoms but need a test for work, travel, or because they were recently in close contact with someone who tested positive.
  • UCHealth only offers PCR COVID-19 tests. PCR tests are considered the most accurate tests available.
  • COVID-19 testing is available at UCHealth outpatient labs. To receive testing at an outpatient lab, patients must have an order from a provider. If you have an order for a test from a provider, please go to your local UCHealth outpatient lab during operating hours. No appointment is needed.
  • COVID-19 testing is available at select UCHealth Urgent Care locations on a limited basis. Appointments are required and can be scheduled through My Health Connection.
  • Many insurance providers cover COVID-19 testing. Please check with your insurance for details.

Nasal swab PCR test

Detects the presence of the COVID-19 virus. / $100


Test results

  • Test results will be sent to the individual’s My Health Connection account. Results will be available as soon as possible, but may take longer than expected due to high demand.
  • Please do not call the lab to check test status, as staff are unable to check on or share individual results.

COVID-19 lab testing sites

COVID-19 testing is available at UCHealth outpatient labs. Lab hours are subject to change. Before traveling to a lab, please confirm operating hours by looking at the information below.

COVID-19 testing is available at select UCHealth Urgent Care locations. Appointments are required and can be scheduled through My Health Connection.

Please do not go to a UCHealth emergency department for a COVID-19 test.

If you are interested in additional testing options, please visit the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s website to find a site near you.

COVID-19 tests

There are two ways to test for COVID-19, PCR testing and antigen testing (also called rapid or home tests).

COVID-19 virus detection nasal swab test (PCR test)

The nasal swab PCR test for COVID-19, is an accurate and reliable test for diagnosing COVID-19. A fluid sample is collected by inserting a nasal swab into your nostril, and taking fluid from the back of your nose. A positive test means that you likely have COVID-19. A negative test means you probably do not have COVID-19 at the time of the test. Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

[CPT codes for the nasal swab test: U0003 or U0002]

COVID-19 antigen/over-the-counter test

Antigen tests are not as accurate as PCR tests. However, if you get a positive result from a COVID-19 antigen test, it is highly likely that you have COVID-19. You do not need to take a PCR test to confirm your positive result.

Antigen tests result in a large number of false negatives (when the test shows a negative result, but you are actually positive). This can happen if you take the test incorrectly or test too early and your viral load is not as high. If you’re concerned about this, you could take a PCR test.

If you (or someone you know) tests positive for COVID-19, and are considered high risk due to pre-existing medical conditions or other health concerns, treatment with monoclonal antibody therapy may be a good option.

Learn more

doctor explaining virtual visit

Please check your individual policy to learn if antibody testing is covered.

For most insurance plans, we will attempt to bill your insurance. You may be responsible for your co-pay or deductible amount. However, if your health plan denies this charge you will receive a bill for the service.

Which tests can I get through UCHealth?

UCHealth is offering one type of COVID-19 testing, called a PCR test, which can tell you if you have COVID-19 now. This test requires a nasal swab. All testing is voluntary.

Why should I get the COVID-19 test?

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 now, a nasal swab test can determine if you have COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. These signs include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chills or body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Sudden loss of taste or smell

If you are experiencing flu or COVID-19 symptoms, do one of the following:

  • Call your provider and describe your symptoms. Your provider may order a COVID-19 or flu test or both. If they submit the order, you can go to the nearest UCHealth outpatient lab location during hours of operation. No appointment is needed.
  • If you do not have a provider, schedule an appointment through our virtual urgent care. That provider will determine if you need a flu or COVID-19 test. If they submit the order, you can go to the nearest UCHealth outpatient lab location during hours of operation.
  • Log onto your My Health Connection account to search for COVID-19 testing at select Urgent Care locations.

Also, some people who are not sick might need to get a COVID-19 test before returning to work.

If you need a copy of a negative COVID-19 test in order to travel or return to work, please reach out to medical records.

I tested positive for COVID-19. What should I do?

If you learn that you have COVID-19, you should isolate yourself at home right away and contact your health care provider. You may be able to heal at home. But, you should get medical help right away if you are having serious problems like trouble breathing.

The CDC recommends 5 days of isolation followed by 5 days of continued mask wearing. However, both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated patients and visitors should not enter a UCHealth facility for 10 days after symptoms start or 10 days after a positive test if they have no symptoms.

Exceptions to this policy include COVID-19 testing or treatment. If you need care for something not related to COVID-19 or have a procedure scheduled, please contact your clinic or provider.

I was exposed to someone with COVID-19. What should I do?

The CDC recommends that you quarantine for 5 days followed by strict mask use (both indoors and outdoors) for an additional 5 days. For people who have had their booster shot, they don’t need to quarantine, but should wear a mask for 10 days after exposure.

However, both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated patients and visitors should not enter a UCHealth facility for 10 days after exposure. An exception to this policy includes COVID-19 testing. If you need care for something not related to COVID-19 or have a procedure scheduled, please contact your clinic or provider.

If you test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms, you should isolate from others. Follow CDC guidelines for isolation based on your symptoms and whether or not you have a healthy immune system.

After being isolated for testing positive for COVID-19, should I get another test after my isolation period is over?

People who have tested positive for COVID-19 and finished their isolation period do not need to get tested again for up to 3 months as long as they do not develop symptoms again. People who develop symptoms again within 3 months of their first case of COVID-19 may need to be tested again, if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms.

I’ve tested positive for COVID-19 in the past, but I have been recently exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Should I get another COVID-19 test?

You do not need to get another COVID-19 test if you meet the following criteria:

    • You have had COVID-19 illness within the previous 3 months or are fully vaccinated against
      COVID-19, and
    • You have recovered, and
    • You remain without COVID-19 symptoms (for example, no cough, shortness of breath or fever).

If you do develop symptoms, you should immediately self-isolate and contact your healthcare provider.

Where is UCHealth offering testing?

The locations and hours of operation for UCHealth outpatient lab testing sites are located on this page.

How can I make an appointment to get a COVID-19 test?

An appointment is not required in order to get a COVID-19 test at a UCHealth outpatient lab. However, you must have a provider’s order.

A limited number of appointments for COVID-19 testing are available at select Urgent Care locations. Log onto your My Health Connection account and select COVID-19 testing.

Will my health insurance cover testing?

Many insurance providers will cover COVID-19 testing, but you should check on the details for your insurance plan. If you have not met the yearly deductible for your plan, you could be charged.

If I don’t have health insurance, can I still get tested?

Yes, you can pay out of pocket for testing. If you pay yourself, a nose swab to test for COVID-19 will cost $100. You must use a credit card to pay for the tests.

Can I come and get a test even though I don’t have any symptoms?

As long as you have a provider’s order, anyone can get a COVID-19 test.

How long will it take to get my results?

Results will be available within approximately 48 hours, but may take longer than expected due to high demand and/or processing times. When available, your results can be found on My Health Connection.

Will my test results be used for research?

Your test results are private. But researchers may use anonymous testing data to find how widely COVID-19 has spread throughout the community and to assist public health experts and government leaders as they try minimize the spread of COVID-19.

What should I do while I wait for results?

If you were tested because of symptoms or an exposure, you should stay in your home (isolation or quarantine) while you wait for your results. This is important because other people, including elderly and those with major medical problems, are more at risk to get severe symptoms from this infection if they are exposed.

If you had symptoms and were seen in a clinic, urgent care or emergency department, you are well enough to go home today. Treat your symptoms with fluids by mouth and over-the-counter medicine.

If your symptoms get worse, call your provider or go to the emergency room. Make sure to let your health care providers know that you have been tested for COVID-19.

Where can I find my results?

Results will be sent to your My Health Connection account. Results will be available within approximately 48 hours, but may take longer than expected due to high demand and/or processing times. Positive and negative results are shown. Please do not call the lab, as staff are unable to check on or share individual results.

I took a COVID-19 test today and I received my test results. I have questions about my results.

You were given instructions when you arrived for your test. These instructions included information on what to do if you test positive. If you still have questions, please call your primary care physician. If you do not have a primary care physician, we recommend you schedule a Virtual Urgent Care appointment.

Visit https://www.uchealth.org/services/virtual-urgent-care/

I took a COVID-19 test several days ago and I have not received my results. I need them to return to work or travel to a foreign country.

We’re sorry it’s taking so long. The time it takes to get results back depends on how many other people have also taken tests. Rest assured, your results will be posted as soon as the laboratory completes them. Thanks for your patience.

What if I need test results back quickly?

UCHealth offers only PCR tests, which are the most accurate tests available. PCR test results are generally back within 48 hours. If you were tested because of symptoms or an exposure, you should stay in your home (isolation or quarantine) while you wait for your results. This is important because other people, including elderly and those with major medical problems, are more at risk to get severe symptoms from this infection if they are exposed.

Find other testing options in your area.

If your symptoms get worse, call your provider or go to the emergency room. Make sure to let your health care providers know that you have been tested for COVID-19.

My surgery or procedure is in the morning and I have not taken the test, or I have not received my results.  Can I still come to the hospital?

Yes, you can still come to the hospital for your surgery. We recommend patients be tested for COVID-19 at 2-5 days before their scheduled procedure or surgery. This is to ensure the safety of patients, visitors and all of our staff. Patients who do not get the required testing may have their surgery or procedure delayed or canceled. If you have questions, please call your provider.

You do not need an appointment for a COVID-19 test. If you have an order for a test from a provider, please tell the testing staff when you arrive at one of our outpatient labs that you have an order for a test.

How can I protect myself from getting COVID-19?

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Stay at least six feet away from people in public.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Wear a mask when you are in public spaces, especially in big crowds.

If you need medical advice, please contact your provider.

COVID-19 lab testing sites

  • COVID-19 testing is available at UCHealth outpatient labs. Lab hours are subject to change.