Time to Get Tested for COVID-19
If you have any symptoms or if you were exposed to someone who tested positive or has symptoms, GET TESTED FOR COVID-19!
Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) across the country worked hard to assemble a robust list of (hopefully) free COVID-19 testing sites. We have collected options for almost every US states and territories. For some areas, we located multiple options at the state, county and city level. If your state or area is not listed, that means we could not locate any free testing options so far. But we are still looking.
Hopefully, we have found a free testing option for everyone who needs a free COVID-19 test. We tried to weed out places that charge or bury those charges under questionable approaches. So check with the facility directly for any charges, appointments, symptoms criteria, hours, and more.
The logical next step of our COVID-19 Education Initiative is to put that collected information to good use. That means go get tested for COVID-19!
Be Sure to Read the Fine Print
Check for eligibility criteria for free testing like residency or symptoms. Some state-sponsored testing sites only offer free testing for in-state residents. There are also some testing facilities that will charge if you are asymptomatic but free if you show symptoms. Does this mean that a well-timed cough can get you a free test? And some test sites may be limiting the number of daily tests due to a shortage of testing supplies.
If you want to remain private, look for test sites that do not require your personal information or medical history to get tested. Yes, there are some facilities that require you to create an account or give away your personal or medical information. If you do not feel comfortable with expectations of one test site, look for another test site.
Be aware that some facilities are advertising “free testing supplies” or “free testing results”. But in the fine print, they mention a charge for the facility usage, for the medical professional conducting the test, or some other hidden charge. We are trying to weed those out but we may have missed some. So again, please check directly and carefully with the testing site.
What If You Test Positive?
You could be infected days before you test positive. So if you are exposed to someone with COVID-19, immediately quarantine yourself. Even if you do not feel symptoms, that does not mean you are not infected. Once infected, you could infect others. And being asymptomatic does not mean that the virus is not doing any internal damage. So you may still need medical attention even if the symptoms are mild.
If you test positive for COVID-19, please isolate yourself and get medical care. Look out for yourself. And don’t forget to look out for others.
Help Others Get Tested For COVID-19
Then help spread the word to get as many people as possible tested. Since there is a disproportionate impact on the number of hospitalizations and deaths of Black and Indigenous communities, we are asking for all RPCVs to reach out to as many people as possible across all racial groups to get tested.
And make sure to follow CDC guidelines. So go mask up. Stay physically apart. Wash your hands often. Yes, that means soap and water! And avoid congregating with other people whenever possible.
Do you know of other free COVID-19 testing sites and events to add to the list? Do you have other ideas for our COVID-19 Education Initiative? Let’s work together to serve at home and make a difference where we can!