COVID-19 Testing

The CDC recommends anyone with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 get tested, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection. Also, most people who have had close contact (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone with confirmed COVID-19 should get tested. For more on testing, rely on additional guidelines from the CDC.

Please do not go to a hospital or emergency room to be tested if you are experiencing mild symptoms, are asymptomatic but were exposed, or need proof of a negative test. If you are having difficulty breathing while you are at rest, or any of the following symptoms, go to your nearest medical facility immediately, or call 911.

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • Mental confusion
  • Bluish lips or face

Viral tests for COVID tell you if you have an infection at the time of the test and include PCR tests and antigen tests. Viral tests use samples that come from your nose or mouth and there are two types of viral tests: rapid tests and laboratory tests.

Laboratory Test

  • Sample can be either a nasal swab or saliva 
  • Results usually in 1-3 days
  • Results are reliable for people with and without symptoms
  • No follow-up test required
  • Common example: PCR Tests (such as self-administered Test Iowa test kits)

Rapid Test

  • Sample is usually a nasal swab
  • Results usually in 15-30 minutes
  • Results may be less reliable for people without symptoms
  • Follow-up test may be required
  • Common example: Antigen Tests

Self-Tests (also called at-home tests or over-the-counter (OTC) tests)

Self-tests are rapid tests that may be used if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed or potentially exposed to an individual with COVID-19. 

  • A positive self-test result means that the test detected the virus, and you are very likely to have an infection and should stay home or isolate and inform close contacts. 

  • A negative self-test result means you may not have COVID-19, but it does not rule out infection. If you have a negative test but have symptoms, you should repeat the test within 2-3 days (with at least 24 hours between tests) to increase the confidence that you are not infected.

  • Every home in the U.S. is eligible for free rapid at-home COVID-19 tests. Households can order up to four rapid antigen at-home tests that are completely free, regardless of insurance. Orders can be made at, and will usually ship in 7-12 days. Order Free At-Home Rapid COVID-19 Tests

Free COVID-19 Test Kits

Free, At-Home Rapid Test Kits

Results in 10 minutes, 2 tests per kit

Crescent Community Health Center has free test kits available for pick-up at 1690 Elm Street, Suite 300, Dubuque, IA 52001. Monday - Thursday: 7 a.m. - 6 p.m., Friday: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Hartig Drug Free Self-Collection PCR Test Kits

Results ready in 3 - 5 business days
Hartig Drug offers free self-collection Covid-19 PCR test kits at all locations. Customers are required to complete an online assessment at and select a Hartig Drug location. Once completed, individuals will receive a voucher to pick up the free test. Vouchers may be printed or shown on a smartphone. Specimen collection must be done at home. Individuals should return the specimen bag to the designated dropbox at Hartig Drug on the same day it was collected. Test results will be emailed and may take 3 to 5 business days.

Test Iowa Test Kits

Results ready in 24 - 48 hours
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is providing at-home COVID-19 test kits which are available free of charge to all Iowans. For details, or to order a kit or kits to be delivered to your home or business, visit the Test Iowa website

  1. Call the test kit pick-up location of your choice prior to arrival to receive site-specific pickup instructions.
  2. Provide saliva sample as directed. Watch Demonstration Video
  3. Drop off your concealed at-home test kit at your nearest UPS drop-off location. (No postage/shipping fee is necessary.)

You will receive an email notifying you that your results are available on the patient portal. This email will be sent within 24 hours after the sample is received by the laboratory. Results are usually available within 24-48 hours of the lab receiving the test kit.

Find a Test Iowa Pick-Up Location (JPG)

Free In-Person COVID-19 Testing

Hy-Vee Pharmacy

Standard PCR test results ready in 3 - 5 business days

3500 Dodge Street Suite 1A, Dubuque, IA 52003
Free, drive-thru standard PCR testing is available Tuesday - Thursday, 8 a.m. - 9 a.m., and Saturday 9 - 10 a.m. Approved for ages 3 and older.  |  Schedule Appointment Online

Additional COVID-19 Testing

Crescent Community Health Center

Testing for symptomatic patients who need testing and a doctor's note to return to work 

1690 Elm Street, Suite 300, Dubuque, IA 52001     563-690-2850
 Walk-in appointments only on-site for a fee.  Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Epic Health & Wellness

Test results ready in 30-45 minutes 

1075 Cedar Cross Road Suite 1, Dubuque, IA 52003
Rapid antigen and rapid PCR molecular testing is available on-site for a fee.  |  Schedule Appointment Online