How much does testing cost?
Testing supported by the State of Montana is offered at no charge.
Why are we testing people without symptoms?
We are learning more and more about this virus every day. While still being investigated, most experts believe individuals can transmit the virus before they have symptoms. We even know of individuals who never show symptoms but can carry the virus. How much of a risk these individuals are to spreading the virus is still unknown. The earlier we can find infected people, the better job we can do to prevent a significant outbreak within our community.
Where do I get tested if I do have symptoms of COVID-19?
If you have symptoms related to COVID-19 (such as shortness of breath, fever/chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, etc.) please call your primary physician immediately. If you do not have a primary physician, call your local health department. Do not go in for testing without calling first.
Who do I contact if I have questions about COVID-19 testing being offered in my community?
Please call your local health department. A list of County and Tribal Health Departments and their contact infomation can be found at https://dphhs.mt.gov/publichealth/fcss/countytribalhealthdepts
What type of test is being offered?
A molecular (PCR) test will be done. Although results take a few days to be reported, this is the most sensitive and accurate test for infection of COVID-19. It will let you know if you have the virus (this is a "point in time" test so it only applies to whether or not you have the virus on the day the test is administered). Remember to continue to practice social distancing and other public health measures to prevent acquiring COVID19.
Are there other benefits to being tested?
Yes. Some people use the test to help plan for a safer visit to family and friends. To do this, it is crucial to avoid possible exposure to the virus between the time of testing and returned negative results. However, it is vital to understand if you have recently been exposed to COVID19, you may test negative but convert to positive within the 14 day incubation period of the virus.
Also, testing those with and without symptoms, and monitoring for early COVID-like symptoms presenting to our clinics and hospital, will help us establish trends and prevalence of COVID-19 in our area. This early information is crucial for us to minimize the impact (safety and economic) of this illness to our community. This kind of information will help the state determine when we can move to Phase 3 of Reopening the Big Sky.
What if I test positive?
As quickly as possible, confirmatory testing will be done to assure the initial test was accurate. During this time, you will be asked to “home quarantine” while we give instruction and encourage testing to those you have had close contact with. If truly positive, our public health team will monitor your symptoms with instructions for further care if needed.
Is the testing painful?
Absolutely not! We will be using the “self-swab” technique where you will be given a swab with instructions to swab the inside of your nose – this is a shallow technique avoiding the pain of deep swabbing.
I have questions regarding COVID-19 testing in nursing homes/assisted living facilities.
For questions regarding testing of Residents and Staff of Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities, click here.