Here’s a list of ongoing testing blitzes, as well as some stationary centers that offer the tests.
So, you want to get a COVID test.
Maybe you’re feeling sick, or maybe you’ve been exposed to someone who now has it. Maybe you’re just feeling anxious and want to check.
There are many opportunities for testing across Arizona, but it can be confusing to navigate the options since they vary by price, eligibility, and other factors.
There are also multiple kinds of tests. The PCR test tells you whether you have the virus in your system and usually takes a few days for results. Samples can be taken from nasal or throat swabs, or saliva. Some nasal swabs need to be pushed far up the nostril until the swab touches the part of the throat behind the nose. Others only need to be inserted about an inch into the nose.
Antigen tests can also tell you if you have the virus and results are usually available in minutes. These are mostly done by nasal swab and are fairly reliable, but less so than PCR tests.
Lastly, the antibody test tells you if you have ever had the virus in your system. However, it doesn’t tell you if it is currently active or indicate immunity as there’s no evidence people can’t get sick more than once. These tests use blood samples (either by fingerstick or blood draw) and deliver results within one to three days.
Here’s a list of ongoing mobile testing blitzes, as well as some stationary centers that offer the tests.
Arizona State University offers free drive-thru PCR tests using saliva samples. Locations vary, but are generally available in Flagstaff, Tucson, and throughout the Valley. Participants must make an appointment online in advance. The process takes 20-25 minutes, and results are available within 48 hours.
Banner Health offers drive-thru PCR tests to those exposed to someone positive or who are experiencing symptoms. Samples are taken by nasal swab and the process takes five to 20 minutes. Participants are then asked to go home and isolate until they receive results in one to three days. Call 1-844-549-1851 or visit their website to schedule an appointment.
Some Banner Health locations in Page, Payson, and Tucson offer tests based on test kit availability. Banner asks participants to contact their doctor and see if they need a test before making an appointment.
CVS is offering self-administered PCR and antigen testing to people who meet their criteria. Participants need to answer an online questionnaire that asks about symptoms, exposure, and risk level. You can then make an appointment if the criteria are met. The tests are free to most people, but CVS recommends checking with your insurance provider to make sure they are covered. PCR test results can be expected within 3-4 days.
Embry Women’s Health is offering free drive-thru PCR tests at 40 sites throughout the state, 30 of which are in the Valley. Six sites are open 24/7. Appointments are recommended. Samples are taken by nasal or throat swab and results are available in three to five days.
Twenty-nine FastMed urgent care centers in the Valley and Tucson offer PCR and antibody testing, but you must visit a doctor and be evaluated before getting one.
The city of Phoenix is offering free antigen and antibody tests through its mobile testing van. Results for both tests are available within 15 minutes. Locations vary and the van’s hours are always 7:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Appointments are recommended but walk-ups are accepted until noon.
Several Walgreens locations offer self-administered PCR tests. Some locations offer rapid PCR tests, which deliver results in less than 24 hours. Most only have lab PCR tests at this time, which take up to two days for results. Participants need to answer an online questionnaire that asks about symptoms, exposure, and risk level before making an appointment if the criteria are met. The tests are free to most people.Walgreens recommends checking with your insurance provider make sure they are covered.
If none of these sites work for you, the Arizona Department of Health Services keeps a larger list of testing locations. Make sure to read all of the details before going as some places have eligibility requirements and charge for tests.