COVID-19 Resources for Patients

COVID-19 Testing

Our COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard provides a map of specimen collection sites. These facilities have reported to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) that they are collecting specimens for COVID-19. This map does not reflect all collection sites in Alabama. Call the testing site for additional information before visiting or call the Alabama COVID-19 24/7 Hotline at 1-888-264-2256 for testing sites and hours of operation near you. Interpreters are available. Note: There is no medical advice provided at this telephone number.

For General Questions

For general COVID-19 questions, call 1-800-270-7268 or email Telephone calls are answered from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Interpreters are available. Also visit our FAQ page.

Waiting For Test Results

After persons are tested for COVID-19, they should go home to self-isolate and remain there until their results are reported to them by their healthcare provider. They are not to go anywhere other than home. If a person is being tested for COVID-19 and hospitalized, they will be in isolation prescribed by the facility Infection Control Office. The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with healthcare providers and ADPH.

Persons With COVID-19

If you have a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 disease (positive test result), you and your household will be quarantined and should monitor your health closely.

Here are some important resources for those with COVID-19 regarding their health:

Here are additional resources for those exposed to a person with COVID-19:

Testing Criteria

As commercial labs have continued to increase their capacity for testing for the virus causing COVID-19 disease, the ADPH Bureau of Clinical Laboratories (BCL) has refocused its testing efforts. Testing is focus toward persons at highest risk for COVID-19 disease, and potential adverse outcomes or concerns regarding infection control (healthcare or long-term care workers) which is consistent with federal guidelines. If a patient does not meet ADPH's criteria and their physician wishes for them to be tested, the patient's specimen should be tested by a commercial laboratory.

ADPH BCL asks that specimens submitted to the State Lab follow the criteria below:

The patient is symptomatic with at minimum (measured or subjective fever OR cough OR shortness of breath, and
The patient is hospitalized, or
The patient is immunocompromised or has co-morbidities, or
The patient age is 65 years or older, or
The patient is a healthcare worker, or
The patient is associated with a long-term healthcare facility

Comorbidities are defined as chronic lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, chronic kidney disease, immunocompromised, neurologic disorders, pregnancy.

Testing Process

If testing will be conducted at ADPH BCL, the healthcare provider collects a nasopharyngeal (swab from the nose) specimen, using the same kind of swab used for flu tests. The specimen is then put in a viral transport medium and shipped to the State Laboratory for testing using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Assay. The average time from receipt of the specimen at the BCL to test and report results is between 24 to 72 hours. Test results are sent only to the healthcare provider who ordered the test. Do not call ADPH for test results.

Information regarding materials to collect the specimen, how to package the specimen properly, and how to ship the specimen to the BCL is available at COVID-19 Resources for Healthcare Providers (see Specimen Collection and Shipping Guidance and Specimen Packaging Instructions).

Page last updated: April 2, 2020