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COVID-19 Testing

Florida Department of Health - St. Johns County

  •  904-506-6081

    Mailing Address

    200 San Sebastian View 


    Saint Augustine, Florida 32084 

Testing Sites

Find a COVID-19 Testing Site Near You
View COVID-19 Testing Locations


  • Test Types
  • What do I do if I think I was exposed to COVID-19?
  • Isolation and Precautions for People with COVID-19
  • Additional Information
Printable Version

COVID-19 Test Types

Molecular Test

For Diagnosing Active Infection

Also known as:

Diagnostic test, viral test, molecular test, nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT), PT-PCR tests

How the sample is taken:

Nasal or throat swab (most tests) Saliva (a few tests)

How long it takes to get results:

Same day (some locations) or up to a week, depending on the laboratory

Is another test needed?

This test is typically highly accurate and usually does not need to be repeated.

What it shows:

Active coronavirus infection

What it can do:

Diagnose active coronavirus infection at the time of the test or shows that you do not have COVID-19.

Antigen Test

For Diagnosing Active Infection

Also known as:

Rapid diagnostic test

How the sample is taken:

Nasal or throat swab (for use in symptomatic individuals only)

How long it takes to get results:

One hour or less

Is another test needed?

Positive results are usually highly accurate, but negative results may need to be confirmed with a molecular test.

What it shows:

Active coronavirus infection

What it can do:

Diagnose active coronavirus infection at the time of the test or show that you do not have COVID-19. Your health care provider may order a molecular test if your antigen test shows a negative result, but you have symptoms of COVID-19.

Antibody Test

Not for Diagnosis

Also known as:

Serological test, serology, blood test, serology test

How the sample is taken:

Finger stick or blood draw

How long it takes to get results:

Same day (many locations) or 1–3 days

Is another test needed?

Sometimes a second antibody test is needed for accurate results.

What it shows:

Whether you have been infected by coronavirus in the past and developed antibodies.

What it can do:

Show if you have had COVID-19 or were infected with coronavirus in the past

COVID-19 rapid tests are inexpensive and fast but sometimes give incorrect results* People with symptoms and a negative rapid test should: Get a confirmation (RT-PCR) test, Wear a mask, Stay home in a separate room.

Florida Health Office of Communications
PDF 08-07-20

Some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. Here’s what to do if you think you may have been exposed to coronavirus.

Watch for symptoms

People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms — ranging from mild to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

Use the CDC’s self-checker to help make decisions and seek appropriate medical care regarding COVID-19.

People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • 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

This list is not all inclusive. Talk to your healthcare provider about any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

When to seek emergency medical attention:

Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, 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.
Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.

Get tested

If you are concerned about your status, get tested for COVID-19 right away. Even if you don’t have symptoms, you can get tested.

See more information about symptoms and testing for COVID-19 and what to do if you were exposed to coronavirus.

Difference Between Flu and COVID-19

Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a coronavirus first identified in 2019, and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses.

Learn more about Flu vs. COVID-19 —

Last updated: 8/11/2022
Content Source:

What to do if
you've been exposed.

If you were exposed to COVID-19, you should start taking precautions.

This information is intended for a general audience. Healthcare professionals should see Ending Isolation and Precautions for People with COVID-19. This CDC guidance is meant to supplement—not replace—any federal, state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations.

If you have COVID-19, you can spread the virus to others. There are precautions you can take to prevent spreading it to others: isolation, masking, and avoiding contact with people who are at high risk of getting very sick. Isolation is used to separate people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 from those without COVID-19.

These recommendations do not change based on COVID-19 Community Levels. If you have COVID-19, also see additional information on treatments that may be available to you.

When to Isolate

Regardless of vaccination status, you should isolate from others when you have COVID-19. You should also isolate if you are sick and suspect that you have COVID-19 but do not yet have test results. If your results are positive, follow the full isolation recommendations below. If your results are negative, you can end your isolation.


You can end your isolation


Follow the full isolation recommendations below

When you have COVID-19, isolation is counted in days, as follows:

If you had no symptoms

  • Day 0 is the day you were tested  (not the day you received your positive test result)

  • Day 1 is the first full day  following the day you were tested

  • If you develop symptoms within 10 days of when you were tested, the  clock restarts at day 0 on the day of symptom onset

If you had symptoms

  • Day 0 of isolation is the day of symptom onset, regardless of when you tested positive

  • Day 1 is the first full day  after the day your symptoms started


If you test positive for COVID-19, stay home for at least 5 days and isolate from others in your home. You are likely most infectious during these first 5 days.

Ending Isolation

End isolation based on how serious your COVID-19 symptoms were.

If you had no symptoms

You may end isolation after day 5.

If you had symptoms

You may end isolation after day 5 if:

  • You are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication)

  • Your symptoms are improving

If you still have fever or your other symptoms have not improved, continue to isolate until they improve.

If you had moderate illness (if you experienced shortness of breath or had difficulty breathing), or severe illness (you were hospitalized) due to COVID-19, or you have a weakened immune system, you need to isolate through day 10.

If you had severe illness or have a weakened immune system, consult your doctor before ending isolation. Ending isolation without a viral test may not be an option for you.

If you are unsure if your symptoms are moderate or severe or if you have a weakened immune system, talk to a healthcare provider for further guidance.

Regardless of when you end isolation, avoid being around people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 until at least day 11. Remember to wear a high-quality mask when indoors around others at home and in public and not go places where you are unable to wear a mask until you are able to discontinue masking (see below). For travel guidance, see CDC’s Travel webpage.

Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation.

Removing Your Mask

After you have ended isolation, when you are feeling better (no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and symptoms improving),

  • Wear your mask through day 10.


  • If you have access to antigen tests, you should consider using them. With two sequential negative tests 48 hours apart, you may remove your mask sooner than day 10.

Note: If your antigen test results1 are positive, you may still be infectious. You should continue wearing a mask and wait at least 48 hours before taking another test. Continue taking antigen tests at least 48 hours apart until you have two sequential negative results. This may mean you need to continue wearing a mask and testing beyond day 10.

After you have ended isolation, if your COVID-19 symptoms recur or worsen, restart your isolation at day 0. Talk to a healthcare provider if you have questions about your symptoms or when to end isolation.

[1] As noted in the Food and Drug Administration labeling for authorized over-the-counter antigen tests, negative test results do not rule out SARS-CoV-2 infection and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or patient management decisions, including infection control decisions.

Content Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) & National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases

Last Updated Aug. 11, 2022