When I first needed a COVID-19 test last June, she waited three hours outside a firehouse testing site. Now, testing options across the city are more numerous, so where should patients go if they need one?
Why it matters: Testing is paramount to identifying COVID-19 infections and stopping the spread, even in fully vaccinated people.
- While they are considered the most accurate, PCR tests take several days to produce a result, and require people to quarantine in the meantime.
- Rapid antigen tests, which can produce a result in a matter of minutes or hours, can be difficult to locate in D.C. and can cost between $25 to hundreds of dollars.
As of Sept. 27, DC Health listed the average wait time for COVID-19 PCR test turnaround at 2.3 days.
Firehouses across D.C. offer walk-up testing on various days.
- Engines 4, 11, 24, and 31 offer testing Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 2:30pm - 7:30pm.
- Engines 8, 10, 30, and 33 offer testing Tuesday and Thursday from 2:30pm - 7:30pm, and Saturday from 12pm to 4pm.
- Persons can pre-register and will be asked to input insurance information if applicable. D.C. officials tell Axios that no one, regardless of insurance status, will be turned away.
Other public testing sites that offer testing throughout the week:
- Covenant House
- Benning Stoddert Recreation Center
- Hillcrest Reaction Center
- Christian Tabernacle Church
- Garfield Park
- Oxon Run Park
- Farragut Square
Additionally, numerous health care providers offer testing by appointment, including: Community of Hope, the GW Medical System, Mary's Center, Unity Health Care, Whitman-Walker Health, Howard University Hospital, MedStar Health, Sibley Memorial Hospital, and District Urgent Care.
- See a full list with daily available times here.
Self-test kits are available at 27 recreation centers and libraries in all eight wards.
- Residents can use this map to see how many tests are available at a location near them.
D.C.’s testing website only shows two options for COVID-19 rapid tests: Farragut Medical and Travel Care, and Ready Responders, which also offers home visits.
- When reached by phone, Farragut Medical and Travel said rapid tests cost $200 with or without insurance, and persons receive a receipt to request insurance reimbursement.
- Ready Responders said their tests cost $0 regardless of insurance status.
- The CVS at 845 Bladensburg Road NE also offers rapid testing. When reached by phone, a representative said the test is free for people with insurance or who can show a Social Security number or a state ID number. Otherwise, tests cost $139.
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