Answers to common questions about COVID-19 testing | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

Answers to common questions about COVID-19 testing

With wider availability of the PCR test for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, here are some answers to common questions.

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The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19 is currently the most reliable test for the virus itself. After initial shortages, PCR test kits have become widely available, and results are usually provided within a few days.

Below are commonly asked questions related to testing for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

How does the PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 virus/COVID-19 work?

A sample of mucus is taken from the nose with a cotton swab. The mucus is analyzed with reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technology that can detect the virus if the patient is actively infected.

The sample may be sent to an outside laboratory or tested by the health system’s own laboratory.

Will testing for the coronavirus change my treatment?

If you test positive, you’ll be expected to take precautions, particularly if you are sick or caring for someone. But the Food and Drug Administration has not approved any medications for patients with COVID-19. Care for yourself at home as you would for any viral illness, including rest and drinking fluids. Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about over-the-counter medications that can help with symptoms.

How long does it take to get COVID-19 test results?

You should receive results in two to three days. The fastest way to receive results is through MyNortonChart.

I was tested for COVID-19 and am waiting for the results. Should I self-quarantine?

Yes. If you’ve been exposed and need to be tested, you are at high risk for exposing other people to the virus. Once your test result is available, a health care provider will advise you if you need to continue to self-quarantine. Even if you don’t have symptoms, you can spread the virus.

If the test is negative, does that mean I don’t have COVID-19?

Not necessarily. If you tested negative, you probably were not infected at the time the sample was taken. The lag in getting results for most tests means it cannot identify someone who has been infected after the sample collection and before the results are known.

No medical test is 100% accurate. The swabs may miss catching a sample of the virus and give a false negative test.

If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or know you have been exposed to someone with confirmed COVID-19, a health care provider may direct you to self-quarantine for a period of time.

If I test positive for COVID-19, should the rest of my household also get tested?

Not necessarily. It is recommended for your close contacts to self-quarantine for 14 days. If they develop symptoms of COVID-19 they should call their health care provider or schedule an online visit with Norton eCare. They can make an appointment using their MyNortonChart account or sign up for MyNortonChart at If symptoms become severe or they are having trouble breathing, seek emergency care.

Where can I get more information or answers to other COVID-19 questions?

Kentucky has a COVID-19 hotline. The number is (800) 722-5725. You also can visit for information. If you have an emergency, call 911.

Getting tested

The COVID-19 live virus test involves a swab to the back of the nose to retrieve a sample that is then tested for the presence of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

You can get a COVID-19 test at a drive-thru Norton Respiratory Illness Testing Center with an appointment.

Use the links below to schedule an appointment at one of our two locations or call (502) 861-4611, option 1.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and away from others. If you need care for mild symptoms, consider scheduling a video visit with a Norton eCare provider.

Before seeking medical care in person, call ahead. Get care immediately if you have trouble breathing or think it is an emergency.

Norton Respiratory Illness Testing Center – Audubon
Norton Respiratory Illness Testing Center – West Broadway

If you suspect you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus, you can visit one of the following locations where a provider will evaluate your symptoms and decide whether you need to be tested.

Norton Healthcare primary care locations also offer COVID-19 antibody testing, which determines if you may or may not have been exposed to COVID-19 in the past.


Schedule Your COVID-19 Vaccination

Walk-ins of appointments available for those eligible per state guidelines at Norton Healthcare Vaccine Clinic – St. Matthews. You may also schedule an appointment at Norton Prompt Care at Walgreens clinics within KY.

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COVID-19 Rapid PCR Testing

Same-day appointments at a location near you

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(502) 861-4611, option 1

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