COVID-19 Testing Now Available at Cedars-Sinai Urgent Care
Appointments Now Open for New Testing Option That Expands Access for the Community
With the novel coronavirus spreading rapidly through Los Angeles, Cedars-Sinai has launched a new option for COVID-19 testing by appointment at its urgent care locations, with results available within 48-72 hours. A doctor’s referral is not needed, and individuals getting tested do not need to be a Cedars-Sinai patient prior to booking their testing appointment.
"We have expanded our testing options in an effort to support our patients and the community by giving them access to high-quality testing when they need it," said Cedars-Sinai Medical Network Chief Medical Officer Caroline Goldzweig, MD. "We wanted to expand access especially for frontline workers such as grocery store employees, first responders or any essential worker whose job puts them in close contact with others."
Cedars-Sinai Urgent Care performs the COVID-19 test using “PCR” (polymerase chain reaction) technology. This test is widely considered to be the most accurate and uses a nasopharyngeal swab to collect a sample from the patient.
If an individual thinks they may have been exposed to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, the best time to take the test is four to seven days after exposure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines an exposure as unmasked contact within six feet of a person known or suspected of having COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes cumulative over the course of a 24-hour period.
People with COVID-19 are likely infectious beginning around two days prior to the onset of symptoms, and this should be taken into account when scheduling a test. For example, if an individual wants to be tested because they live with someone who developed COVID-19, the ideal testing time would be around two to five days after the infected person's symptoms began or after the date of the positive test. For someone who is worried about a potential exposure, it’s best to wait until at least four days to get tested.
We have expanded our testing options in an effort to support our patients and the community by giving them access to high-quality testing when they need it. We wanted to expand access especially for frontline workers such as grocery store employees, first responders or any essential worker whose job puts them in close contact with others.
"When you're asymptomatic, timing is everything," Goldzweig said. Timing is less crucial for essential workers and others who are concerned about exposure in general.
"It's also critical to remember that a negative test in an asymptomatic person does not guarantee that you do not have COVID-19," Goldzweig added. "The incubation period can last 14 days and it's possible you could develop symptoms or even test positive later during this time period."
Goldzweig also noted that while the PCR testing technology is generally the most reliable for detecting the presence of COVID-19, it is not perfect. Some patients who test negative may still have the illness. But when patients test positive, it is almost always a true positive result.
Testing is available to adults and children ages 2 years and older. Minors under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
All individuals being tested should feel safe visiting Cedars-Sinai's urgent care locations due to the safety measures these clinics continue to observe to ensure the health and safety of patients and staff. These include:
- Screening patients, visitors and staff upon arrival.
- Requiring everyone to sanitize their hands and wear a mask.
- Caring for patients with COVID-19 symptoms in separate areas.
- Arranging spaces to allow for physical distancing.
- Thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting all clinical spaces and common areas.
- Limiting the number of visitors allowed.
To schedule a COVID-19 test or for more information, click here.
Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: Navigating the Holidays During the COVID-19 Pandemic.