Disclaimer: At UPMC HealthBeat, we strive to provide the most up-to-date facts in our stories when we publish them. We also make updates to our content as information changes. However, education about COVID-19 can shift quickly based on new data, emerging variants, or other factors. The information in this story was accurate as of its publish date. We also encourage you to visit other reliable websites for updated information, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and your state and local governments.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the need for testing is increasing.
The spread of the Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant caused rising case numbers throughout the United States.
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested. Do not go to work or school without getting tested if you have symptoms.
At UPMC, we offer testing for COVID-19. Here’s how to get tested at one of our locations and what you can expect when you get there.
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Can I go to the Emergency Department for a COVID-19 test?
If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and have no symptoms or mild symptoms with no breathing problems, you should not go to the Emergency Department (ED) for testing. Instead, you should schedule a test at one of our designated testing locations.
Going to the ED with no symptoms or mild symptoms may cause long wait times. Also, test results do not come back more quickly.
If you have breathing problems or other severe symptoms, then you should go to the ED. Call 911 or visit the nearest ED if you have severe symptoms.
COVID-19 testing process at UPMC
If you believe you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and have no symptoms or mild symptoms, you can schedule a test at UPMC.
Here’s how to schedule a test and get tested:
UPMC Locations in Pennsylvania
If you live in western, central, or north central Pennsylvania, you can schedule a test at one of our COVID-19 testing locations or at your personal care provider’s office. If you live in western or central Pennsylvania, you also can schedule a test at a UPMC Urgent Care location.
You need a doctor’s referral or prescription to get tested.
Step 1: Get a medical order for testing.
You need a doctor’s referral or medical order to get a COVID-19 test. Call your personal care provider (PCP) for an evaluation over the phone. If a test is necessary, they can order a test for you electronically or with a written prescription. You can ask your PCP if they offer COVID-19 testing in their office.
If you don’t have a PCP, or if you’re not a UPMC patient, you still can get a doctor’s order for testing. Learn more.
Step 2: Schedule a test.
Once you have an order from a provider, you can schedule a test. We offer testing locations throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, and West Virginia.
To schedule an appointment at the location closest to you, call the office or schedule online.
Step 3: Get tested.
On the day of your test, bring your identification, your insurance card, and your written testing prescription if you have one.
Remember to wear a mask and follow all other facility protocols. Ask if there are any testing instructions specific to that site.
Step 4: Get your results.
Test results may be available in 24 to 48 hours. It could be longer or shorter than that depending on the volume of tests.
You can access your test results in your patient portal:
If you don’t have access to a patient portal, a UPMC provider will call with your results.
UPMC Western Maryland
For UPMC Western Maryland patients, COVID-19 testing is available at select UPMC Primary Care offices and UPMC Urgent Care locations.
Here’s how to get tested:
Step 1: Find a testing location.
If you are a UPMC Primary Care patient, call your physician for an over-the-phone evaluation. If you need a test, your PCP can either ask you to visit their office for a test or refer you to UPMC Urgent Care.
To see a list of UPMC Primary Care locations, visit our website.
If you aren’t a UPMC Primary Care patient or don’t have a PCP, you have other options for testing.
- Visit one of our Urgent Care locations. If you don’t have symptoms, you can get tested without a provider’s order. If you have symptoms, you can see a provider who can order the test, or you can bring a provider’s order with you. Appointments are not needed.
- Use UPMC AnywhereCare (virtual urgent care). Online visits are $64.
Step 2: Get tested.
On the day of your test, bring identification, your insurance card, and a written prescription for testing if you have one.
Remember to wear a face mask and follow any other protocols at the testing location.
Step 3: Get your results.
Your results may be available within three to five days. That time could vary depending on the volume of tests.
You can access your results in the UPMC Western Maryland Patient Portal. If you don’t have access to a patient portal, the provider who ordered the test will contact you with the results. If you didn’t have a provider order, the location where you got tested will contact you with the results.
Headquartered in Pittsburgh, UPMC is a world-renowned health care provider and insurer. We operate 40 hospitals and 800 doctors’ offices and outpatient centers, with locations throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, West Virginia, and internationally. We employ 4,900 physicians, and we are leaders in clinical care, groundbreaking research, and treatment breakthroughs. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside as one of the nation’s best hospitals in many specialties and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. We are dedicated to providing Life Changing Medicine to our communities.