Champaign-Urbana Public Health District

Symptoms and Testing

Testing helps us to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and should be used alongside our best tools to stop this pandemic—getting vaccinated, getting boosted, and wearing a high filtration mask in indoor public settings. Every U.S. household can order up to 16 free COVID-19 tests through a federal program. To place an order, all you need is your name and residential address. No ID, credit card, or health insurance information is required. You may also share your email address to get updates on your order.

When To Test

  • If you are experiencing symptoms
  • After a confirmed exposure
  • After a potential exposure (such as family gatherings, events, or any situation where masking and social distancing were not always maintained)
  • Before you join indoor gatherings with others who are not in your household, especially if anyone who is considered high-risk will be attending
  • You should check testing requirements for any destinations you plan to travel
  • For more info about when to test, click here.

Where To Test

There are many viral/antigen testing opportunities in our community. Including at pharmacies and by obtaining at-home tests. Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 2 sets of 4 free at-⁠home tests. If you already ordered your first set, order a second today.

The following are Community Based Testing Sites that are open to anyone, and no appointment is needed:

  1. SHIELD CU COVID-19 Testing (5 years and up)
    • Parkland Community College
    • Click here for updated testing times
    • NOTE: You must use the Safer Community app to receive your test results from SHIELD CU testing. Before getting tested, you should refrain from eating, drinking, tooth brushing, mouth washing, gum chewing, and tobacco use for at least one hour before submitting your saliva sample at the test location.
  2. The following sites have more specific requirements. They are NOT available for State mandated screening testing. Please call or visit their websites for more information:
  3. Carle
    • Exposed or symptomatic community members in the Champaign-Urbana region can still receive a COVID-19 test by calling the COVID-19 Hotline at 217-902-6100217-902-6100 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. to register for a test and instruction for the closest testing location.
    • Patients preparing for a procedure in need of a test should contact their provider’s office for next steps.
  4. Promise Healthcare
  5. CampusTown Urgent Care

Types of COVID-19 Tests

Viral/Antigen Tests

A viral test checks specimens from your nose or your mouth to find out if you are currently infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

  1. Laboratory Tests can take days to complete and include RT-PCR and other types of NAATs
  2. Rapid Point of Care Tests are performed or interpreted by someone other than the individual being tested.
  3. Self-Tests are rapid tests that can be taken at home or anywhere as long as the instructions are followed.

Please note that CUPHD cannot provide official documentation (travel, work release, etc) for anyone who tests positive using a self-test. If you need a release letter from CUPHD to return to work or you are planning to travel outside of the United States in the next 3 months, you will need a laboratory or rapid point of care test.

Antibody Tests

An antibody test (also known as a serology test) can detect antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in your blood. Antibodies are proteins that your immune system makes to help fight infection and protect you from getting sick in the future.

Antibody tests should not be used to diagnose a current infection, but they may indicate if you had a past infection.

Action After Test Results

If POSITIVE: follow Isolation guidelines


  • If you are up to date on vaccines you can return to normal activities. Wear a mask indoors in areas where the COVID-19 Community Level is high.
  • If you are not up to date on vaccines and have symptoms or exposure you should quarantine for at least 5 days.

Symptoms of COVID-19

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

Click here to visits CDC’s Coronavirus Self-Checker.

Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.