COVID-19 Testing for Hospital Patients FAQs

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Going to the hospital at UVA? Your questions about COVID-19 hospital testing answered. 

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

Our current practice is to test everyone who will be staying in or is admitted to the hospital.

Knowing your COVID-19 test results helps us keep you, your family, and our teams safe. We want to make sure to limit your exposure to infection while you're here.

Do I have to pay for the test?

No. We won't charge you for the test.

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

Even people who don't have symptoms can have COVID-19 and spread it to others. Testing reduces the risk of people passing the virus along without knowing it.

We especially want to keep our patients safe. You're at a higher risk for an extreme infection after an operation or procedure.

What is the test like?

A COVID-19 test uses a nasal swab. This long cotton swab reaches the back of your nose and sinuses. This test is relatively quick. You may feel some brief discomfort. Your eyes may tear up. But it doesn't hurt.

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

If you have symptoms, the test is generally accurate.

If you don't have symptoms, the test may not be accurate.

Most people do not need repeat testing. In some cases, your doctors might decide to test you again.

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

If you don't have symptoms, test results return in 24-48 hours. If you test positive (you're infected with COVID-19), your doctors and the Department of Public Health will let you know when you can go home. You may need to quarantine at home after you leave the hospital. 

How will I be notified of my test results?

You'll find your results in MyChart. If you're positive - if you have COVID-19 - your healthcare team will let you know as soon as possible. 

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

See more UVA Health guidelines for:

For general COVID-19 information, see the Centers for Disease Control.