UT University Health Services

COVID-19 Testing

 

About

Test for COVID-19 if you are not feeling completely healthy, experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or if you have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

COVID-19 symptoms include fever/chills, muscle or body aches, sore throat, congestion or a runny nose, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, headache and new loss of taste or smell.


Testing Options

Find COVID-19 testing locations at testinglocator.cdc.gov/search.

Self-test kits are widely available at area pharmacies and retailers. Test by using a valid (not expired) self-test kit. NOTE: Some test kits have extended expiration dates.

Receive four COVID-19 tests through covid.gov/tests


Appointments at UHS

Currently Enrolled Students
Make an appointment to see a provider at UHS, who will order a COVID-19 test as part of your evaluation. This appointment can be completed via telehealth or in-person. Schedule within the portal or by calling 512-471-4955. To schedule within the portal:

  • Log in then click on check-in or schedule an appointment
  • Schedule an appointment
  • Student appointment at University Health Services (UHS)
  • General Medicine visit
  • Choose either in-office or telehealth visit

Tests Used

UHS uses the BINAXNOW Antigen test or the RT-PCR test, both of which are anterior nasal swabs. These take test samples from the front of the nose, inside the nostrils. Other collection methods, such as nasopharyngeal and salivary, may substitute for anterior nasal as dictated by supply chain or other factors.

Results for BINAXNOW Antigen tests will be available within one hour. RT-PCR tests are sent out to an external reference laboratory (CPL) for processing. Results will be available within 24-48 hours during weekdays.


On the Day of Your Appointment/Appointment Arrival

  • Log in then click on check-in or schedule an appointment
  • Wear a face covering.
  • If you are driving to campus, park your car in or near the 27th Street Garage (TSG). See information about parking validation.
  • Arrive as close to your appointment time as possible to prevent lines.
  • Review your pre-appointment email to reference the clinic location.
  • Social distance if there is a line.

Charges and Insurance

For students who have health insurance, charges will be billed to your insurance. For students who are uninsured or whose insurance does not fully cover the cost of testing, UT Austin is now covering the expenses for in-house COVID-19 antigen testing. Please note that this applies to in-house antigen testing only and not COVID-19 PCR tests, which are sent to our reference lab, Clinical Pathology Laboratories, Inc. (CPL). ). Further, UT does not cover the costs of the tests for students who have health insurance but opt not to use it.

For further details, refer to the UHS charges and insurance page or contact the UHS billing and insurance office at healthyhorns_billing@utlists.utexas.edu.


Faculty and Staff

Make an appointment to be tested by your healthcare provider or at UT Health Austin.



What Do the Results of This COVID-19 Test Mean?

POSITIVE NEGATIVE

The virus was detected in the test, consistent with current or recent virus infection. The result is accurate only for the time at which the swab was done. A positive test does not predict whether you will develop symptoms or how severe they could be. You should stay home and self-isolate, even if you do not have symptoms, and monitor yourself for symptoms that may require hospitalization.

Find self-isolation guidelines under “Positive COVID-19 Test” in this chart.

A negative test result means that virus particles were not present in the specimen in sufficient quantities to be detected. However, a negative result does not exclude the possibility of COVID-19 infection. If you have been exposed to COVID-19, wear a mask and if you develop any symptoms, self-isolate as described in the link below.

Find guidelines for self-isolation under ‘Symptomatic’ in this chart.

POSITIVE

The virus was detected in the test, consistent with current or recent virus infection. The result is accurate only for the time at which the swab was done. A positive test does not predict whether you will develop symptoms or how severe they could be. You should stay home and self-isolate, even if you do not have symptoms, and monitor yourself for symptoms that may require hospitalization.

Find self-isolation guidelines under “Positive COVID-19 Test” in this chart.

NEGATIVE

A negative test result means that virus particles were not present in the specimen in sufficient quantities to be detected. However, a negative result does not exclude the possibility of COVID-19 infection. If you have been exposed to COVID-19, wear a mask and if you develop any symptoms, self-isolate as described in the link below.

Find guidelines for self-isolation under “Symptomatic” in this chart.

Regardless of your test result, your healthcare provider will provide additional instructions as they apply to your circumstances.


Needs for Travel

Obtain copies of the UHS Clinical Laboratory licenses if needed for your travel clearance. Obtain a copy of Clinical Pathology Laboratories (CPL) CLIA license if your PCR test was performed by CPL.

Schedule an appointment with a UHS provider to receive a COVID-19 Recovery Attestation Letter stating that you have recovered from a COVID-19 infection within the last 90 days to be used instead of a negative test for some travel requirements.


COVID-19 Antibody Testing to Determine Past Infection (Blood Test)

This testing that is completed at UHS is only available for currently enrolled students

COVID-19 antibody testing determines whether a person has antibodies to COVID-19. Antibodies indicate that a person may have had a past COVID-19 infection. It is unclear whether the presence of COVID-19 antibodies provides protection (immunity) against reinfection. If they do provide immunity, it is unclear how long immunity lasts. UHS charges $53 for the COVID-19 antibody test (blood test), which is also called a serology test. The university does not subsidize charges for antibody testing. For additional information, see the UHS charges and insurance page.

Students interested in antibody testing can schedule an appointment with a UHS provider by calling the main UHS appointment line, 512-471-4955 or the 24/7 Nurse Advice Line, 512-475-6877, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.


What do the results of this test mean?

POSITIVE NEGATIVE
You have antibodies that most likely resulted from being infected with COVID-19 or, possibly, a related coronavirus. It is unclear at this time whether you are protected from (immune to) getting infected with COVID-19 again. If you are immune, the length of immunity is unknown. The level of reassurance provided by a positive antibody test remains unclear. Therefore, you should follow recommended protective measures as if you could become infected and infect others. See this document that contains information on how to protect yourself. You probably have not had a previous COVID-19 infection. A negative antibody test does not rule out current infection. It takes one to three weeks (or longer) after being infected with COVID-19 for antibodies to develop. Therefore, you could have an early COVID-19 infection and be able to spread the virus to others and have a negative antibody test. If you have symptoms and meet other criteria for testing, you will need a nasal swab test to determine current infection.
POSITIVE
You have antibodies that most likely resulted from being infected with COVID-19 or, possibly, a related coronavirus. It is unclear at this time whether you are protected from (immune to) getting infected with COVID-19 again. If you are immune, the length of immunity is unknown. The level of reassurance provided by a positive antibody test remains unclear. Therefore, you should follow recommended protective measures as if you could become infected and infect others. See this document that contains information on how to protect yourself.
NEGATIVE
You probably have not had a previous COVID-19 infection. A negative antibody test does not rule out current infection. It takes one to three weeks (or longer) after being infected with COVID-19 for antibodies to develop. Therefore, you could have an early COVID-19 infection and be able to spread the virus to others and have a negative antibody test. If you have symptoms and meet other criteria for testing, you will need a nasal swab test to determine current infection.

Regardless of your test result, your healthcare provider will provide additional instructions as they apply to your circumstances.



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