Puget Sound community members may be required to participate in asymptomatic testing, symptomatic, or post-COVID-19 exposure testing. 

Updated: Nov. 1, 2022

On-Campus Resources and Locations 

CHWS

1500 N. Warner St. (inside Wheelock Student Center, 2nd floor)
253.879.1555
CHWS provides care and COVID-19 testing for enrolled students. CHWS offers symptomatic testing only and a provider visit is required. Associated lab and exam fees will be charged to the student’s account. Please see below for estimated prices. 

Provider visit: $25–$55 depending on length of appointment
Rapid antigen test: $10
Rapid NAAT test: $50 
PCR test (processed through Quest Labs): $100

MultiCare Respiratory Clinic 

3215 N. 13th St. (Near the Yellow House)
253.879.2821
The MultiCare Respiratory Clinic can provide care to employees or students with COVID-19 or other respiratory symptoms. They provide symptomatic testing only. An appointment and current insurance card are required. 

Test Kit Pickup Locations 

The following locations on campus have antigen tests available for pickup while supplies last: 

  • Security Services 
  • Facilities Services 
  • Outside the Office of the Dean of Students (Wheelock 208)

 

Off-Campus Resources 

Tacoma Pierce County Health Department 

The Tacoma Pierce County Health Department maintains an updated list of testing locations including types of tests (antigen, PCR, rapid PCR), and operating hours. These locations offer free symptomatic and asymptomatic testing.

Tacoma Pierce County Health Department Testing Information 

Urgent Care

Many urgent care locations can provide symptomatic testing with a provider exam. Check for availability and hours on the urgent care’s website. 

 

What’s the best type of test to use? Antigen tests vs. PCR tests

PCR Tests

A PCR is a type of nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT). A PCR test uses a polymerase chain reaction to detect genetic material, such as a virus. When used for COVID-19, a PCR test can detect viral RNA. It is more sensitive than an antigen test, and can detect very low virus levels or even RNA viral fragments. This means that a PCR test can detect the virus before it is detectable on an at-home antigen test, and for up to 90 days after an active infection. 

A PCR test is the best type of test to use if you have symptoms or have been exposed to someone who has recently tested positive. Testing positive on a PCR test, but negative on an antigen test is possible if an individual’s viral load is low (at the beginning or the tail-end of an infection). Because it is very sensitive, PCR testing is generally not advised for 90 days after an infection.

Antigen Tests 

A COVID-19 antigen test (also called lateral flow, rapid test, or at-home test) detects a viral protein from a sample. COVID-19 antigen tests are not as sensitive as PCR tests (around 60%–80% sensitivity rate compared to PCR tests), especially early in an infection (day two to day five after symptom onset is when antigen tests are most accurate). 

For this reason, serial testing with antigen tests is recommended for people with symptoms or those who have had close contact if PCR testing is not accessible. Different test manufacturers have different instructions for serial testing, but a general rule is to perform an antigen test twice over three days, at least 24 hours apart.  A positive result on an antigen test indicates the need to isolate away from others. A negative result should not be used to rule out COVID-19 in a symptomatic individual. Instead, a PCR test is recommended to rule out COVID-19 in symptomatic individuals or those who have had close contact.