2022 has gotten off to a rough start with Arkansas regularly seeing record numbers of new COVID-19 cases. If you’ve recently been exposed to COVID and tried to get tested, you already know that finding a test is easier said than done.

Not knowing for sure if you have COVID can be a challenge, but there are some general guidelines you should follow until you can get tested or until you feel better. Here are four things to do if you think you have COVID and can’t find a test.


1. Make a symptom checklist.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has compiled a list of the most common COVID symptoms, so start there. Determine if your symptoms are mild or more severe, or if you have enough symptoms to warrant concern. The CDC’s Coronavirus Self-Checker can also help with this. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, there are several actions you can take.


2. Quarantine or self-isolate.

Quarantining and self-isolating are good ways to prevent accidentally spreading the virus if your symptoms are less severe or if you have no symptoms, but were recently exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID. The CDC’s list of guidelines for quarantining and isolating has changed since vaccines and booster shots arrived, so make sure you keep up with and adhere to the most recent guidance.


3. Call the doctor’s office.

If you’re exhibiting severe enough symptoms, it may be time to call your doctor. Doctors' offices are still affected by the shortage of COVID tests, but letting your doctor know what symptoms you have and consulting with them to figure out what steps you should take next are always good ideas.


4. Consider an at-home test.

Since getting a COVID test is so difficult, you may want to consider purchasing an at-home testing kit. Self-testing is more convenient and may be a better, more accessible option than a rapid or point-of-care test, but these tests are also in shorter supply. You can find the CDC’s guidelines for self-testing here.


Additionally, it’s important to remember that COVID tests aren’t an unlimited resource. If you’re asymptomatic, you don’t need to get tested – unless you’ve been exposed to someone who has COVID. By choosing not to get tested unless it’s absolutely necessary, you’re making sure there’s a test available for someone else who actually needs it.

Staying up to date with the latest COVID guidelines is also important. The CDC’s website has more information about testing, symptoms, new variants and other COVID-related issues that you need to know. The Arkansas Department of Heath’s website also has important information about Arkansas’ COVID situation and where to find free at-home tests.