STEP 7:Receive results
Select your testing type?
How to apply
How to get ready for testing
How to conduct tests
What to do after testing
The CDPH Color Laboratory Network (CLN) is responsible for processing all samples within 48 hours of receipt. When results are available, Color will notify patients through SMS and/or email (using the mobile phone number and/or email provided through the registration process) that results are available.
Patients can use their date of birth and the barcode number associated with their sample (which is provided on a take-away card for sites that will be provided kits by the state) to access their results through Color’s HIPAA compliant .
If the patient loses their Color barcode for their test, they can call the Color support hotline. Patients can also access their results by clicking on the link from their email or text notification.
Note: For sites without a shared provider, patients with positive test results who do not check their test results on the Color website will receive up to 10 autodial attempts from the state’s clinical call center within 48 hours to ensure they receive their test results. Spanish and other languages are available on these calls through the language line.
There are four potential results to the test:
|Result||What it means||What to do|
|Positive||A positive test result (also referred to as detected) means that the COVID-19 virus was detected in your specimen.|
NOTE: The incubation period for COVID-19 is between 2-14 days. Depending on when you were tested, or the sensitivities of a given test, be aware that future tests may come back with a different result.
|You should self-isolate. You can contact your medical provider or local health department authorities for further instructions. Additionally, your local health department may also contact you.
Only a physician can give you a diagnosis. They can also provide information on how to care for
yourself and to help protect others from infection.
|Presumptive positive||A presumptive positive test result (also known as inconclusive or indeterminate) indicates that you had a marginal trace of the COVID-19 virus in your specimen. This may mean you are either very early in your COVID infection and the amount of virus is just beginning to rise, or you are later in your COVID infection and the overall amount of virus is declining. It could also mean you are infected with COVID, but the sample that was taken for testing only captured a minimal amount of the virus when swabbing.||You should self- isolate. You can contact your medical provider or local health department authorities for further instructions. Additionally, your local health department may also contact you.
You will be asked to submit a new specimen so another test can be run.
|Negative||A negative test result (also referred to as not detected) means that COVID-19 virus was not detected in your specimen at the time of your test.||Negative results mean that the virus was not detected at the time of the tests. If you’re feeling symptoms (fevers, chills, cough, shortness of breath, muscle and body aches, fatigue, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, runny nose, congestion, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea),contact a doctor and ask whether you should be retested because (1) you may have contracted the virus after your test, or; (2) your test may have been a false negative.|
|Invalid||An invalid test result (also referred to as failed or unsatisfactory) means that the lab was unable to confirm the presence or absence of COVID-19 in your specimen. The specimen could not be processed because the specimen was unsatisfactory (e.g., specimen received at lab more than 96 hours after collection) or invalid/failed (i.e. no viral or human nucleic acids were detected).||You should self- isolate. You can contact your medical provider or local health department authorities for further instructions. Additionally, your local health department may also contact you. You will be asked to submit a new specimen so another test can be run.|
For additional details on testing results and steps to take while awaiting results, please see this link.