Testing for COVID-19

You may need to be tested for COVID-19 for different reasons. These include having been confirmed as a close contact of someone who is infected or having symptoms that may be a sign of COVID-19 infection.

Where can you get a test? 

Tests are available in several locations across our region.

Employee Testing

Find details about COVID-19 testing guidance for VUMC employees here (password required).

Below, find answers to common questions about being tested for COVID-19.

Updated Oct. 26, 2022.

  • If you or your child have ANY life-threatening symptoms, call 911. This includes:

    • Trouble breathing
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or lethargy
    • Bluish lips or face

    If you or your child feel sick and you do NOT have life-threatening symptoms, get a COVID test.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends testing for:

    • Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19
    • Most people who've had close contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19. This is defined as being within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
      • Fully vaccinated people should be tested 3 to 5 days after a known exposure to someone who's suspected or confirmed as having COVID-19 and wear a mask in indoor settings for 14 days or until they get a negative test result.
      • People who've tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 3 months and have recovered don't need to be tested again after exposure as long as they don't develop new symptoms.
    • Unvaccinated people who've taken part in activities that put them at higher risk for COVID-19 because they can't physically distance as needed to avoid exposure. This includes travel, attending large social or mass gatherings, or being in crowded or poorly ventilated indoor settings. 
    • People who have been asked or referred to get tested by their health care provider or state, tribal, local external icon, or territorial health department.

    If you get tested because you have symptoms of COVID-19 or were possibly exposed to the virus, you should stay away from others while you wait for your test result.

    Follow the advice of your health care provider or a public health professional.

  • This guidance follows the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Anyone can do an at-home test, which are widely at retail stores. Be sure to follow the directions carefully.

    If you test positive, isolate and let those you've been around know you've tested positive. Also be sure to let your health care provider know that you’ve tested positive. If you develop symptoms or start feeling sick at any point, be sure to let them know.


  • Many procedures and surgeries require a COVID-19 test before the surgery or procedure.

    These include:

    • procedures that involve deep sedation or general anesthesia, including upper or advanced endoscopy in any setting
    • lower endoscopy (e.g., colonoscopies or flexible sigmoidoscopies) performed in a hospital setting
    • procedures that require an overnight stay in the hospital.

    Vanderbilt Health pre-procedure testing process

    All tests must be done between 48 and 72 hours before the procedure. This is more important than ever because of the number of tests currently being done.

    If you’re not tested or if the result isn't ready on the day of your procedure, the procedure may be postponed until we can get a result.

    To avoid delays or the need for another test, you may have your test done on weekdays at Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks on the 3rd floor. This is also where we're giving COVID-19 vaccines. 

    You also may get your pre-procedure test at one of our Walk-In Clinics, Vanderbilt Health Clinics at Walgreens or Vanderbilt Children's After Hours Clinics during normal clinic hours. Find a location near you at MyHealthWalkIn.com.

    How will I get my COVID-19 test result?

    Your test result will be available in My Health at Vanderbilt after it’s finalized by our lab. If you don’t yet have an MHAV account, go to the MHAV page and click “create a new account.”

    What if I go to a non-Vanderbilt location for testing?

    It is preferred that you get your test at a Vanderbilt location. If you must use a non-Vanderbilt location for testing, make sure you get a PCR test from the nose or mouth. We won't accept any other test results. This includes results from at-home, antigen, and blood tests.

    If your results are negative, you'll need to bring your results when you come for your procedure. If your results are positive, please notify your provider.