Coronavirus: What you need to KNOW
Our patients are our first priority—today and always. The communities where we live and work rely on Quest Diagnostics to give assurance during difficult times. We’ve always made it our mission to deliver on that promise.
As the pandemic continues to develop, we know you'll have a lot of questions about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). We're committed to helping you find the answers.
With two types of COVID-19 tests, you need the right information to determine which test may be right for you. Quest can help you get the answers you need, because KNOWING gets you back to a healthy, active lifestyle faster.
Active infection swab test
This type of test helps to diagnose whether you currently have an active COVID-19 infection. A diagnosis can guide you and your doctor or healthcare provider to make an informed decision about self-quarantining to protect your family and friends.
Who can get tested: Active infection testing may be right for you if you are currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or were exposed to the virus in the last 14 days. Common COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
How the test works: Your doctor or healthcare provider will collect a specimen through a nasal or throat swab. The specimen is then sent to Quest laboratories for processing using either our lab-developed test, a Roche-developed test, or a Hologic-developed test.
Where to get tested: Contact your doctor or another authorized healthcare provider for guidance on where in your community to get tested for an active infection. (Do not go to a Quest patient service center for this test.)
In addition to your healthcare provider, Quest and Walmart are providing drive-thru COVID-19 self-swab tests at select locations across the country. To see if you qualify and if there’s a location near you, visit MyQuestCOVIDTest.com.
Active infection test fact sheets
Immune response blood test
This type of test detects antibodies that show if you have already been exposed to and produced an immune response to COVID-19—even if you never experienced symptoms. Previous exposure means you may now have some level of immunity to the virus.* Understanding your immune response gives you and your doctor or healthcare provider the information to assist in making an informed decision about returning to work or activity.
Who can get tested: Immune response testing is available only to patients who are not currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and have not experienced symptoms within 10 days. Common COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
How the test works: If your doctor or healthcare provider has submitted an order for you to get a COVID-19 immune response test or you purchased one through QuestDirect, you can make an appointment at a Quest patient service center. You do not need to fast for this test. A phlebotomist will draw your blood and the specimen is then sent to Quest laboratories for processing.
Where to get tested: You can make an appointment at a Quest patient service center for an immune response test. However, your doctor or healthcare provider must have submitted an order for your test or you must have purchased one through QuestDirect.
Immune response test fact sheets
Confirm that the healthcare provider who collects your COVID-19 specimen is sending it to Quest for processing. If so, your test results can be sent to you automatically through the secure MyQuest™ online portal.
This is usually the quickest way to get results. Test results are typically available within 3 days, but turnaround time can vary due to high demand.
Don't have MyQuest?
Sign up now to get your COVID-19 test results online.
As an essential service, Quest’s doors remain open to help you maintain your overall health. This is more important than ever, now that our communities are dealing with a major health crisis.
Wait by Text
Wait for your appointment wherever you want by opting in for our Wait by Text program.
When registering for your appointment on a self-service kiosk in our patient service centers, select the option to request a text when it’s your turn to come inside. This allows you to wait for your lab appointment in your car, outside in the fresh air, or wherever you feel the most comfortable.
Hours for vulnerable patients
Quest is offering our most vulnerable patients special access to the non-COVID-19 lab testing they need in an environment with enhanced safety measures.
Those who are 60 years of age or older, are pregnant, or have underlying medical conditions are invited to their nearest Quest location during the first hour of each day for VIP care. Patients may schedule an appointment or walk in without an appointment.
Added space between chairs and limiting the number of people in the waiting room of our patient service centers help everyone practice social distancing guidelines.
Additionally, patients who suspect they have COVID-19 are being directed to contact their doctor or an authorized healthcare provider for testing information and not come to Quest patient service centers.
Safeguarding your health
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Face masks are required for both patients and employees. Gloves and hand sanitizer are provided at check-in. At some locations, a greeter may use a no-contact technique to take your temperature when you enter. Plus, our medical staff will be wearing added protective face masks and clothing.
More frequent cleaning
All Quest patient service centers have implemented more frequent cleaning routines, including sanitizing between each patient and daily deep cleaning. And all employees are washing their hands more frequently for at least 20 seconds.
Protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19 with simple prevention methods. The CDC recommends that you:
- Practice social distancing
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
- Wash your hands often with soap and water
How we're doing our part
Quest Diagnostics further expands COVID-19 testing capacityRead Press Release
Since Quest began processing the highly complex COVID-19 tests on March 9, we have steadily increased testing capacity to meet the evolving needs of healthcare providers and patients in our communities.
So far, we’ve processed more than 2.65 million active infection tests and 1.25 million immune response tests.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 (formally known as 2019-nCoV) is the name for the respiratory syndrome caused by infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, loss of smell, coughing, sore throat, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, feeling weak or lethargic, chills, muscle pain, lightheadedness or dizziness, headache, vomiting or diarrhea, slurred speech, and/or seizures.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers many resources on COVID-19, including symptoms.
Does Quest provide testing for COVID-19?
Yes. Quest is one of the labs processing the complex COVID-19 testing during this public health emergency.
For diagnosis of an active COVID-19 infection, you need to contact a doctor or authorized healthcare provider to have a test specimen collected by nose or throat swab. You cannot go to a Quest patient service center for active infection testing.
For COVID-19 immune response testing, you can make an appointment at a Quest patient service center if you have a doctor’s order or if you purchased the test through QuestDirect. You must also have been symptom-free for at least 10 days.
Is Quest increasing its testing capacity to meet demand?
Yes. Quest has steadily increased COVID-19 testing capacity to meet the growing demand from patients, hospitals and healthcare providers in our communities.
How do I know if I have COVID-19?
If you suspect you may have COVID-19, contact your doctor or an authorized healthcare provider immediately for guidance. Your healthcare provider can review your symptoms to determine what testing is appropriate. If COVID-19 diagnostic testing for active infection makes sense for you, your healthcare provider will direct you where to get tested. Diagnostic testing includes collecting your specimens (for example, nose or throat swab). Your respiratory specimens will be sent to Quest for advanced testing to determine if you are positive for COVID-19 or not.
How do I know if I’m recovered from COVID-19?
Recovery from COVID-19 is typically considered after it has been at least 7 days from the start of your first symptoms, and at least 3 days without a fever, and all other symptoms have improved.
Additionally, an antibody test may be able to detect if you have already been exposed to and produced an immune response to COVID-19—even if you never experienced symptoms. Previous exposure means you may now have some level of immunity to the virus.
At this time, it is unknown for how long antibodies will last after infection and if the antibodies will give you protective immunity. Even if you have antibodies, you may still have the virus and be able to infect others for a few weeks.
How do I get tested for COVID-19?
If you suspect you may have COVID-19, contact your doctor or an authorized healthcare provider immediately for guidance. Your healthcare provider can review your symptoms to determine what appropriate testing is needed. If COVID-19 testing makes sense for you, your healthcare provider will direct you where to get tested, which includes collecting your specimens (for example, nose or throat swab). Your respiratory specimens will be sent to a lab, such as Quest, for advanced testing.
If you may have already been exposed to COVID-19, you may be eligible for antibody testing. If those results are positive, it indicates whether you have developed an immune response to the virus. If you have been symptom-free for at least 10 days, ask your healthcare provider to submit an order for immune response testing, or purchase the test online through QuestDirect. Then make an appointment at a Quest patient service center for a blood test. You do not need to fast for this test.
How and when do I get COVID-19 test results?
Test results are usually available within 3 days, but turnaround time can vary due to high demand. Typically, the quickest way to get your test results is having them sent to you automatically through your secure MyQuest online portal. If you don’t already have a MyQuest account, signing up is free and easy.
Can I go to a Quest patient service center to be tested for COVID-19?
It depends on the type of test you need.
Testing for active COVID-19 infection is not performed at Quest patient service centers. If you suspect you have COVID-19, contact your doctor or an authorized healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will direct you where to get tested for an active infection. This type of test includes collecting your test specimens, usually through a nose or throat swab. Those respiratory specimens are then sent to labs like Quest to process the tests.
Testing for COVID-19 immune response can be performed at Quest patient service centers with an appointment if you have been symptom-free for at least 10 days. You must have a doctor’s order or purchase the test through QuestDirect to make an appointment for COVID-19 immune response testing.
Is it safe to go to a Quest patient service center for other testing services not related to COVID-19?
Quest has strong safety procedures in place at all times. These protect patients and employees from coming into contact with any infectious diseases. During the COVID-19 public health crisis, we have taken more precautions with our new Peace of Mind program that makes it easier and safer to access the testing you need from Quest.
Peace of Mind measures include:
- Providing gloves to patients to use touchscreen kiosks
- Requiring face masks for all patients and employees
- Disinfecting all surfaces more frequently
- Dedicating the first hour of each day to vulnerable patients who are 60 years of age or older, pregnant, or have underlying medical conditions
- Offering a text alert option that allows patients to wait for appointments outside
- Limiting the number of people in the waiting room
- Mandating enhanced COVID-19 safety training for employees
- Equipping employees with additional personal protective equipment
- Washing hands more frequently for at least 20 seconds
- Using a no-contact technique to check patients’ temperatures upon entry
Also, patients who suspect they have active COVID-19 should not come to our patient service centers. They should contact their doctor or an authorized healthcare provider.
Can I order this test online for myself?
It depends on the type of test you need.
Testing for an active COVID-19 infection cannot be ordered online. If you suspect you have COVID-19, contact your doctor or an authorized healthcare provider. If testing is right for you, your healthcare provider will direct you where to get tested, which includes collecting your test specimens, usually through a nose or throat swab. Those respiratory specimens are then sent to labs like Quest to process the tests.
Testing for COVID-19 immune response can be purchased online through QuestDirect, if you have been symptom-free for at least 10 days. Once the test is purchased, you can make an appointment at a Quest patient service center.
Does Quest have experience with testing for emerging infectious diseases?
Yes, Quest has a history of providing advanced infectious disease testing during public health emergencies. Quest was the first national commercial provider to offer Zika and 2009 H1N1 influenza testing, which was emergency-use authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Today, Quest brings that same level of urgency and care to COVID-19 testing for you and your family. Learn more about infectious disease testing.
The antibody tests (sometimes known as the serology tests or IgG tests) are intended for use as an aid in identifying individuals with an adaptive immune response to SARS-CoV-2, indicating recent or prior infection. Results are for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 are generally detectable in blood several days after initial infection, although the duration of time antibodies are present post-infection is not well characterized. At this time, it is unknown for how long antibodies persist following infection and if the presence of antibodies confers protective immunity. Individuals may have detectable virus present for several weeks following seroconversion. Negative results do not preclude acute SARS-CoV-2 infection. If acute infection is suspected, molecular testing for SARS-CoV-2 is necessary. The antibody test should not be used to diagnose acute SARS-CoV-2 infection. False positive results for the antibody test may occur due to cross-reactivity from pre-existing antibodies or other possible causes.
- The antibody tests and the molecular tests (together “All tests”) have not been FDA cleared or approved;
- All tests have been authorized by FDA under EUAs for use by authorized laboratories;
- The antibody tests have been authorized only for the detection of IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens;
- The molecular tests have been authorized only for the detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens; and,
- All tests are only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for detection and/or diagnosis of COVID-19 under Section 564(b)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the authorization is terminated or revoked sooner.