Antigen Testing

The Arizona “Testing Blitz” began on Saturday May 2nd, and will continue for the following two saturdays (May 9th and May 16th). The “Blitz” aims to ramp up antigen, or virus testing which indicates an active COVID-19 infection, with goals of administering 30,000 to 60,000 tests to Arizonians over the next few weeks. Information on testing locations, times, and how to register for a test near you can be found here.

What is Antigen Testing?

Antigen testing, also called diagnostic, or virus testing, confirms whether or not someone has a current COVID-19 infection. These tests usually require a nasal swab to diagnose an active virus (though saliva tests are becoming more available!). Rapid antigen tests usually take less than an hour to receive results, while other versions of the test must be analyzed in a laboratory and results may take up to 2-3 days. Antigen testing is one of the two available tests for COVID-19. Information on the differences between the two types of testing can be found here. Only Antigen testing will be offered during the “Testing Blitz.”

Why should I be tested?

Antigen testing is important because it gives data on the current number of active cases in an area. Testing also helps health professionals understand more about COVID-19, including how infectious the virus is and how it spreads from person-to-person.

  • Why is it important to me?
    If you or someone close to you is feeling ill, quicker testing means less transmission as people are aware of the need to isolate. It also means faster contact tracing, which is a process where Public Health workers help figure out who an infected person may have spread the virus to. 
  • Why is it important to others?
    Many people who have the virus are asymptomatic. This means that they do not show any symptoms and therefore are not aware they have the virus and are contagious. More testing means that more asymptomatic or mild cases will be captured. These people can help break the chain of transmission by taking extra precautions to make sure they do not spread the virus to others.

Who is able to get tested?

Who can get tested varies by testing location. Call ahead or pre-register to find out who is able to get a test at the testing location you have chosen. Some sites are allowing everyone to get tested. Others are testing only individuals who believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 or anyone who is experiencing symptoms, which include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Does Antigen testing at the “Testing Blitz” sites cost money?

Each testing site has their own procedures for billing. Make sure to call or visit the website prior to visiting your selected testing location.  

The next update will cover alternatives for home disinfectants. If you would like to learn more about this and other topics related to COVID-19 in Arizona, please complete the next AZCOVIDTXT survey that you will receive via text in about a week.

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