COVID-19 Testing and Screening
If you are concerned you may have COVID-19, use our free self-assessment tool to learn the right next steps for you.
Last update: Feb. 27, 2021
Frequently asked questions.
Read our frequently asked questions below to learn more about Sharp HealthCare's COVID-19 testing and screening for patients.
- Is Sharp testing patients for the coronavirus?
- Can anyone be tested for the coronavirus?
- Where can I get tested if I'm not able to get a doctor's order for a COVID-19 test?
- Is there a fee for COVID-19 screening or testing?
- Where do I get the test if I don't have insurance?
- Does Sharp offer "drive-thru" testing or "testing tents"?
- How are Sharp labs handling the coronavirus pandemic?
- I don't work at Sharp and my employer told me that I need to get tested.
- How do I request documentation of my COVID-19 test results?
- Does Sharp offer antibody testing for COVID-19?
- What should I do if I think I have the coronavirus?
- What should I do if I am being evaluated for the coronavirus?
- How is Sharp screening patients for the coronavirus?
Is Sharp testing patients for the coronavirus?
If the patient meets the criteria for a COVID-19 test, a caregiver will take a nasal swab and send it to a Sharp laboratory. In some cases, the patient will be instructed to self-test under the guidance of a caregiver. This is currently the protocol that is in place for all Sharp HealthCare facilities.
If the sample is positive, Sharp will notify Public Health Services and a care plan will be determined.
Sharp patients are encouraged to use FollowMyHealth® or the patient portal their doctor uses to communicate with their providers and learn their test results.
Can anyone be tested for the coronavirus?
Not everyone will be tested for coronavirus. People who think they need to be tested due to a confirmed exposure should contact their primary care doctor. If appropriate, your doctor will advise you on where to go for testing.
At this time, public health experts recommend testing only for patients where testing would change the course of treatment. Most COVID-19 cases will be mild, and the test is not necessary for those patients. Going out in the community to get tested puts you more at risk and will use up limited medical resources.
To determine who should be tested, we use the guidelines and criteria set forth by the CDC and California Department of Public Health. At this time, testing for patients in Tiers 3 and 4 cannot be accommodated within Sharp due to limited testing capability. If you do not meet any of the criteria but would like a test, please find information for free testing options on 2-1-1 San Diego.
Where can I get tested if I'm not able to get a doctor's order for a COVID-19 test?
Free tests and walk-in tests are available through the County of San Diego.
Is there a fee for COVID-19 screening or testing?
The California Department of Managed Health Care directed all commercial health plans and Medi-Cal health plans to cover the cost for medically necessary screening and testing for COVID-19. This includes waiving the member's share of costs for the emergency room, urgent care or visits with a doctor. In addition, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has directed that Medicare Part B will cover all medically necessary COVID-19 testing only. Patients with Medicare Part B plans are still responsible for emergency, urgent care or doctor's office visit fees, even if related to COVID-19. Patients who do not have health insurance may get a COVID-19 test at Sharp Laboratories for $104 or an antibody test for $55. Regardless of insurance, all patients must have a physician order to be tested at a Sharp Laboratory.
Free tests and walk-in tests (no physician order) are available through the County of San Diego and other organizations.
Where do I get the test if I don't have insurance?
If you have a primary care doctor, we suggest that you contact your doctor to be evaluated. Not every patient will be tested for coronavirus, so we recommend that you receive an evaluation by a doctor before coming to the hospital or an urgent care center.
If you do not have a primary care physician, we can provide you a referral to a low- or no-cost community clinic.
Does Sharp offer "drive-thru" testing or "testing tents"?
Sharp does not currently provide "drive-thru" testing or "testing tents". If you think you need to be tested, please call your primary care doctor, who will advise you on where to go for testing.
Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group patients who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are in high-risk categories may be eligible to visit outdoor respiratory clinics at an urgent care location. If you fit these criteria, please first consult with your primary care doctor, who will provide a testing recommendations based on your consultation.
How are Sharp labs handling the coronavirus pandemic?
Sharp is practicing social distancing whenever and wherever possible. If you are concerned about having room to distance yourself from other patients in the lab, we suggest that you call ahead. We are not taking every patient's temperature because patients can be contagious even without a fever.
If your lab work is not urgent, we advise that you wait until the pandemic is over.
I don't work at Sharp and my employer told me that I need to get tested.
Your employer's occupational health (sometimes called employee health) department can refer you to the occupational medicine program they prefer. Sharp Occupational Health has locations across San Diego. Please have your occupational health or human resources department contact your occupational health provider.
How do I request documentation of my COVID-19 test results?
The easiest way to access documentation of your COVID-19 test results is through FollowMyHealth. You can also request your hospital or Sharp Rees-Stealy COVID-19 test results.
Read fact sheet about the COVID-19 test you received.
Does Sharp offer antibody testing for COVID-19?
Sharp is providing COVID-19 antibody testing to a small number of patients who meet specific criteria. This includes patients being ruled out for multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a rare, life-threatening condition that follows COVID-19 infection.
In general, COVID-19 antibody testing is best used by epidemiologists to provide an approximate number of how many people have been infected by the virus. Antibody testing does not show who is immune or unable to spread the disease.
What should I do if I think I have the coronavirus?
If you have had close contact with someone who is confirmed to have, or is being evaluated for, coronavirus, and think you may be sick, the CDC recommends self-isolation within your home.
You should also:
- Monitor your health starting from the day you first had close contact with the person
- Continue monitoring for 14 days after you last had close contact with the person
- Watch for these signs and symptoms:
-Fever (take your temperature twice a day)
-Congestion or runny nose
-Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
-Repeated shaking with chills
-New loss of taste or smell
-Nausea or vomiting
If you develop a fever or any of these symptoms, call your health care provider immediately and inform them of your close contact with someone who is confirmed to have, or being evaluated for, coronavirus. If you don't have a primary care doctor, call 1-800-82-SHARP ( 1-800-827-4277) to find one today.
What should I do if I am being evaluated for the coronavirus?
If you're being evaluated for the virus and don't need to be hospitalized, you should take the following steps:
- Stay home except to get necessary medical care
- If you must go out, avoid any kind of public transportation, ridesharing or taxis
- Separate yourself from any other people in your home; if possible, use a separate bathroom
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and then wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Throw used tissues into a lined trash can immediately
- Avoid sharing household items such as dishes, utensils, cups, towels and bedding
- Stay hydrated with water; drinks designed to supply the body with carbohydrates, fluids and sodium; and clear soup broths
- Take acetaminophen as needed for body aches and pains as directed by the manufacturer
- Wear a face covering or face mask when you are within six feet of other people
- Clean all high-touch surfaces daily, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, phones, tablets, keyboards and bedside tables
- Monitor symptoms and seek prompt medical attention if the illness is worsening or your symptoms become more severe (e.g., difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, bluish lips or face)
If you have an upcoming medical appointment, call ahead and let your doctor know if you have been directed by a health care professional to self-quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19 or to isolate because you have or are suspected of having COVID-19. Please wear a face covering and advise the staff located at the building's entrance. You will be given a standard mask if you are wearing a gaiter, bandana, single-layer cloth mask or mask with exhalation valves.
If you require 911 services, please inform the dispatcher that you may have COVID-19.
You can stop home isolation when you meet all the following:
- You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (three full days of no fever without the use of fever-reducing medicine)
- Other symptoms have improved, such as cough or shortness of breath
- At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
Please continue to adhere to national, state and local stay-at-home orders.
How is Sharp screening patients for the coronavirus?
Sharp HealthCare facilities have a standard protocol in place for any infectious disease, including the coronavirus, and each facility has a surge capacity plan to ensure proper care is delivered to all our patients.
At all Sharp facilities, we ask arriving patients about:
- Contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19
- Any symptoms that may be related to COVID-19 (such as high fever and dry cough)
If a patient meets these criteria, the patient is immediately masked and placed in a private room in a hospital or clinic setting or in an outside respiratory clinic at Sharp Rees-Stealy. If necessary, transport is arranged if a patient needs to be moved from a clinic to a hospital for further evaluation and possible testing.
How to get care if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
Call your doctor's office or health care provider if you think you need to be evaluated. We will advise you on the best way to receive the care you need. At Sharp hospitals and clinics, patients with COVID-19 symptoms are treated separately from patients with other medical concerns.
How to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
We are following state and county guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination, including phases for vaccine distribution. The County of San Diego is currently vaccinating individuals in all tiers of Phase 1A and Phase 1B. We recommend making an appointment at a County of San Diego vaccination station to receive your vaccine sooner.
Latest update on Sharp's COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
Sharp is staffing four vaccination sites for the County of San Diego. Appointments are required. These sites use the county's online scheduling system. Make your vaccination appointment. Walk-ins are not being accepted. Please keep our phone lines free for other medical needs.