Choose the right COVID-19 test

Aug 16, 2022

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, PCR tests were almost always used to detect the virus. Over the past two years, more and better antigen testing options have become available, making it easier and faster to get test results at home.

Most situations 

Home antigen tests are best for when you:

  • Have symptoms (retest after 24-48 hours if the first test result is negative)
  • Have been exposed to someone who tested positive (test 5 days after exposure if no symptoms)
  • Plan to travel, attend a gathering, or spend time with people who are at risk for serious illness
  • Need to show a negative test result for return to work (employer policies may vary)

KP members can visit to get the test you need, including free home antigen tests delivered to your door.

Limited situations 

PCR tests are recommended when you:

  • Are directed to get this test by your doctor
  • Are attending an event or activity that specifically requires a negative PCR test result

What to do with a positive COVID-19 test result:

  1. Stay home and isolate.
  2. End isolation* after 5 full days if symptoms are improving and no fever for 24 hours (California requires a negative test to end isolation at 5 days. Otherwise, 10 days of isolation is required)
  3. Wear a well-fitting mask around others and avoid travel for 10 full days

* Follow public health and employer recommendations before returning to normal activity. Further CDC guidance can be found at

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