Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 Testing for Patients Being Admitted to the Hospital

Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 Testing for Patients Being Admitted to the Hospital

Why am I being tested? Is everyone that comes to the hospital tested?

We are committed to protecting the health and well-being of our patients and team members. As you prepare for your hospital stay, your care team is here to ensure you have limited risk of exposure to COVID-19 while you are with us. One way we do this is by providing COVID-19 testing to anyone with COVID-19 symptoms and all patients who are being admitted to the hospital. Knowing your COVID-19 test results gives us important information that allows us to provide the care you need while keeping you, your family and our team members safe. There is no charge for the test.

Why do I need to be tested if I don’t have symptoms?

COVID-19 testing protects patients, their families and the healthcare team. Patients who have the virus, even if they don’t have symptoms, can spread it to others. Patients are also at higher risk for severe complications after medical procedures.

What is the test like?

COVID-19 testing is generally done by a standard nasopharyngeal swab testing (molecular PCR test). A healthcare team member gently uses a long cotton swab to reach the back of the nose and sinuses. This test is relatively quick. You may feel some temporary discomfort and your eyes may tear up momentarily during the swab test.

How “good” is the test? If it returns negative, how certain are you about the result? Will I need a repeat test?

The test is generally accurate during the time when you have symptoms. Before symptoms begin or after symptoms go away, the level of the virus may be lower, which can make the test less accurate. Most people do not need repeat testing, but in some cases, your doctors might decide to test again.

How quick do the results return? Do I need to stay in the hospital until the results turn negative?

Time to for your care team to receive the results vary based on many factors, currently most test results for inpatients are available from 24 - 48 hours. If your test is positive (you are infected with COVID-19), your doctors and the Department of Public Health will determine when you may return home. Some people can be discharged back to home quarantine before symptoms have completely gone away.

How will I be notified of my test results?

Results will be released to MyChart. You will be notified by your health care team if your results are positive. Please ask your health care team about your results if you have questions.

Where can I get more information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing?

Information on COVID-19 is available at the CDC Website.

For everyone’s safety, we remind patients and healthcare staff alike, to wear a mask and cleanse their hands.