The Arkansas Department of Health’s Local Health Units across the state will offer COVID-19 testing beginning Monday, May 18. There is no out-of-pocket cost for the tests, but insurance may be billed for patients who have it, according to a news release.


Testing is encouraged for anyone who believes they have had contact with or been exposed to a positive case as well as anyone who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. Tests will also be offered to anyone with or without symptoms who lives in or has traveled to an area experiencing active transmission.


Those seeking a test should confirm that the health unit is open and call ahead for an appointment so that staff can prepare and ensure safe spacing between patients.


Patients will be directed to self-collect specimens outside of the unit using a provided nasal swab and container. The specimens will then be sent to the state Public Health Laboratory. Results are typically made available within 48 to 72 hours, though it can take up to a week. Positive patients will be notified as soon as a result is available, according to the release.


A list of health units is available at healthy.arkansas.gov/health-units.