Testing for COVID-19
who should get tested?
If you were exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual and are having symptoms, you should get tested and start isolating. If you were exposed but are not having symptoms, you can still get a test! However, a negative test does not allow you to stop your quarantine period.
When should I get tested?
If you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you may be asked to self-quarantine, but testing is not recommended until you start experiencing symptoms or its been minimally 4-5 days after your last known exposure to a known positive COVID-19 person. It can take several days for the virus to "incubate" in your body so that your COVID-19 test result would show as positive; testing too early can lead to a false negative result.
where can I get tested?
If you think you should be tested for COVID-19 based on your symptoms or exposure to a known positive person, you should call your health care provider about testing. Some test sites do not require a doctor's order - see below.
In Berrien County, there are several testing sites available. Please see the State of Michigan's Test Finder tool for more testing sites within and outside of Berrien County. To understand the difference between the various testing methods available, please see this FDA website.
- InterCare Community Health Network is providing testing at Benton Harbor High School at 870 Colfax Ave
- No appointments are needed
- A drive-up site is available to everyone, with or without symptoms
- This site is open Monday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Free of charge but a photo ID is needed to receive a test
- Spectrum Health Lakeland COVID-19
- Testing at a Lakeland facility is available for patients who have any symptoms of COVID-19 or have had known exposure (close contact within 6-feet for a total of 15 minutes or more) to someone with confirmed, or suspected COVID-19 at least four days ago. Contact your local Southwest Michigan primary care provider first to obtain a doctor’s order for testing. If you do not have a primary care provider, COVID-19 rapid testing is now available at all three of Lakeland’s walk-in clinics (Niles, Stevensville, and Watervliet).
- If you have a doctor's order for a COVID-19 test, schedule a COVID-19 test through Lakeland MyChart or by calling 269.927.5100. COVID-19 testing with an appointment is available at the Center for Outpatient Services, Spectrum Health Lakeland Niles Hospital, or Spectrum Health Lakeland Watervliet Hospital. Appointments are not needed for rapid testing at a walk-in clinic.
- Rite-Aid in Bridgman and Rite-Aid in Niles
- You must complete an online screening before scheduling an appointment. These sites use a self-administered nasal swab testing method
- No-cost daily testing at their pharmacy without a doctor’s order
- You must be 18+ years old
- Niles Community Health Center
- You must call the screening/scheduling phone line: 269-930-1002 to make an appointment
- No doctor's order is needed
- Everyone is eligible for testing with or without symptoms (including children).
- Please bring drivers license and insurance cards
- Hope Community Church in Niles
- Please make an appointment by calling 888-535-6136 and selecting “1” or go online at Michigan.gov/CoronavirusTest
- No doctor's order or insurance is needed, and everyone is eligible for testing with or without symptoms
- No-cost to you
- The test uses a saliva collection method with your spit, but they also have the Nasopharyngeal test. Maintain good hydration pretest and 24 hours prior avoid caffeine, alcohol, sugary and spicy foods. 30 minutes prior to testing do not eat, drink, chew gum or use tobacco
- To get results, email email@example.com or toll-free at (877) 878-7740
- Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Physicians Immediate Carein South Bend, Mishawaka, and Elkhart
- You must reserve your time by making an appointment online, appointment slots become available on the morning of testing days and fill up quickly
- This urgent care center provides the Abott ID Now Rapid COVID-19 test and will generate results the same day
- Everyone is eligible for testing with or without symptoms
- CVS Pharmacy Saint Joseph
- You must make an appointment online
- No-cost daily testing at their pharmacy, without a doctor’s order
- Testing not available for children under 10 years of age and 16 years or younger must be accompanied by an adult
- Please bring drivers license and insurance card if you have one
How will I get my test results?
You will be contacted when your results are available. If you're able to set up a patient portal through the testing facility, we recommend doing so for faster access to your results. During the Fall 2020 surge, it's taking much longer to get results. Contact your primary care provider for results, or the health care facility where you got tested but please know it will take between 3-5 days.
HOW CAN I GET A LETTER SAYING I TOOK A TEST, OR THAT I TESTED POSITIVE/NEGATIVE?
Contact your primary care provider for this information, or the health care facility where you got tested.
What happens if I test positive for covid-19?
First, someone from the Berrien County Health Department will contact you by telephone to speak with you about your test results and get a history of who you have been around even during the few days before you got sick. Its important that you are able to give the Health Department a list of the people you have had close personal contact with (including friends, family members, or co-workers) so we can instruct you how to tell your contacts to self-quarantine and get them tested if they are feeling symptoms of COVID-19. If you're uncomfortable contacting people, we can do this for you. This process is called "contact tracing" and its important to cut off the chain of transmission of the virus.
Isolate Sick Person to Protect Other Household Members:
- If possible, stay in a separate room from the rest of your household members and use a separate bathroom.
- Family members and roommates should avoid contact with sick person and practice self-quarantine.
- Wear a mask if you go into shared spaces.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects. Learn about disinfecting your home if someone is sick from CDC.
- Temporary housing assistance may be available if you:
- Have COVID-19 and, if you returned home, you would put a family member at risk for COVID-19.
- You are homeless and have COVID-19 or are at-risk for COVID-19.
- To see if you qualify, speak with the person coordinating your case or call 2-1-1.
Managing Symptoms at Home:
- Stay home to manage mild symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, fever, fatigue, abdominal cramps, mild nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
- Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) up to every 4 hours or ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil) up to every 6 hours for fever. You can alternate these if you need relief prior to when the next dose is due. Do not exceed the maximum dose per day for any medication. Neither FDA or WHO currently recommend avoiding ibuprofen. Contact your healthcare provider if you have questions about your personal health.
- Stay hydrated by drinking water or sports drinks. Eat when possible.
- Avoid other family members and friends by following isolation instructions.
- Review 10 ways to manage respiratory symptoms at home from CDC.
- Review instructions for Social Distancing, Self-Monitoring, Quarantine, Isolation.
When to Seek Medical Care:
Call your doctor if you have:
- Fever that does not come down with medication.
- Shortness of breath.
- Symptoms that keep getting worse and feel unmanageable.
Call ahead to the Emergency Department or call 9-1-1 if you have:
- Difficulty breathing/inability to catch your breath.
- Chest pain.
- Feel faint, light-headed or unstable in any other way.
- If you are unable to drive yourself and do not have a ride, call 9-1-1 for transport by ambulance. Inform them of your symptoms ahead of time.
- If a family member or friend is giving you a ride, wear a mask or fabric that covers your mouth and nose while you are in the vehicle with them.
- If you are driving yourself, apply a mask or fabric that covers your mouth and nose before exiting your vehicle.