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4.42(33 reviews)
600 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91101600 E Colorado Blvd
OpenSat 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Mon 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Tue 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Wed 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Thu 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Fri 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Sat 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Sun 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
carbon-health-pasadena
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Recent patient review

Everyone was courteous and friendly. I am from out of the state and I felt welcomed.
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COVID testing & Rapid testing near me in Pasadena, CA

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4.42(33 reviews)
600 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91101600 E Colorado Blvd
OpenSat 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Mon 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Tue 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Wed 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Thu 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Fri 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Sat 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Sun 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
carbon-health-pasadena
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Recent patient review

Everyone was courteous and friendly. I am from out of the state and I felt welcomed.
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PCR Test
Rapid
Results in same day
$160
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in same day
$75

Available times

Check your symptoms
Check your symptoms

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4.7(44 reviews)
This clinic is rated highly in patient reviews and ratings

Highly Rated

39 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 9110539 E Colorado Blvd
OpenSat 7:30 am - 3:00 pm
  • Mon 8:00 am - 6:30 pm
  • Tue 8:00 am - 6:30 pm
  • Wed 8:00 am - 6:30 pm
  • Thu 8:00 am - 6:30 pm
  • Fri 8:00 am - 6:30 pm
  • Sat 7:30 am - 3:00 pm
  • Sun 7:30 am - 3:00 pm
sameday-health-pasadena
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PCR Test
Rapid
Results in same day
$250
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in < 1 hour
$95

Available times

4.25(8 reviews)
1001 Rose Bowl Dr, Pasadena, CA 911031001 Rose Bowl Dr
View hours of operation
  • Mon 8:15 am - 4:00 pm
  • Tue 8:15 am - 4:00 pm
  • Wed 8:15 am - 4:00 pm
  • Thu 8:15 am - 4:00 pm
  • Fri 8:15 am - 4:00 pm
  • SatClosed
  • SunClosed
covid-clinic-rose-bowl-ca
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Recent patient review

Great job. There was no tissue available after the process.
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PCR Test
Rapid
Results in same day
$299
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in < 1 hour
$129

Available times

4.9(250 reviews)
This clinic is rated highly in patient reviews and ratings

Highly Rated

This clinic is rated highly in reviews for their friendly staff

Friendly Staff

This clinic is rated highly in reviews for their clean offices

Sparkling Clean

3849 E Foothill Blvd, Pasadena, CA 911073849 E Foothill Blvd
OpenSat 12:00 pm - 10:00 pm
  • Mon12:00 pm - 10:00 pm
  • Tue12:00 pm - 10:00 pm
  • Wed12:00 pm - 10:00 pm
  • Thu12:00 pm - 10:00 pm
  • Fri12:00 pm - 10:00 pm
  • Sat12:00 pm - 10:00 pm
  • Sun10:00 am - 10:00 pm
pm-pediatric-urgent-care-pasadena-ca
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Recent patient review

Love the convenience of making appointments online. I’ve been there twice now and both times the staff were incredibly friendly and welcoming. And the place is kept impeccably clean.
PCR Test
Time to results unknown
Antigen Test
Rapid
Time to results unknown

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4.68(1.6k reviews)
797 S Arroyo Pkwy, Pasadena, CA 91105797 S Arroyo Pkwy
OpenSat 9:00 am - 4:45 pm
  • Mon 8:00 am - 7:45 pm
  • Tue 8:00 am - 7:45 pm
  • Wed 8:00 am - 7:45 pm
  • Thu 8:00 am - 7:45 pm
  • Fri 8:00 am - 7:45 pm
  • Sat 9:00 am - 4:45 pm
  • Sun 9:00 am - 4:45 pm
advanced-urgent-care-of-pasadena-covid-testing-at-advanced-urgent-care
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Recent patient review

The nice lady remembered me and was really nice.
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PCR Test
Results in 1-3 days
$140
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in 15 min
$75

Available times

4.45(377 reviews)
797 S Arroyo Pkwy, Pasadena, CA 91105797 S Arroyo Pkwy
OpenSat 9:00 am - 4:45 pm
  • Mon 8:00 am - 7:45 pm
  • Tue 8:00 am - 7:45 pm
  • Wed 8:00 am - 7:45 pm
  • Thu 8:00 am - 7:45 pm
  • Fri 8:00 am - 7:45 pm
  • Sat 9:00 am - 4:45 pm
  • Sun 9:00 am - 4:45 pm
advanced-urgent-care-of-pasadena-advanced-urgent-care-of-pasadena
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Recent patient review

I really liked the doctor Toni D Rodgers. She was very efficient & solved my problem. Highly recommend her.
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PCR Test
Results in 1-3 days
$140
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in 15 min
$75

Available times

4.64(11 reviews)
This clinic is rated highly in reviews for their friendly staff

Friendly Staff

103 N Garfield Ave, Alhambra, CA 91801103 N Garfield Ave
OpenSat 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Mon 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Tue 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Wed 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Thu 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Fri 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Sat 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Sun 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
hummingbird-covid-testing-centers-alhambra
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PCR Test
Rapid
Results in < 1 hour
$200
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in 15 min

Available times

5019 E 3rd St, East Los Angeles, CA 900225019 E 3rd St
OpenSat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Mon10:30 am - 7:30 pm
  • Tue10:30 am - 7:30 pm
  • Wed10:30 am - 7:30 pm
  • Thu10:30 am - 7:30 pm
  • Fri10:30 am - 7:30 pm
  • Sat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Sun 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
guardian-testing-east-la-station
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PCR Test
Time to results unknown
Antigen Test
Rapid
Time to results unknown

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3.4(10 reviews)
This clinic has shorter than average waiting periods

Short Wait Time

This clinic is rated highly in reviews for their clean offices

Sparkling Clean

2110 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 900262110 Sunset Blvd
OpenSat 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Mon 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Tue 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Wed 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Thu 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Fri 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Sat 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Sun 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
carbon-health-echo-park
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Recent patient review

No waiting, attentive staff, in and out quickly, best place in the city for fast, accurate care!
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PCR Test
Rapid
Results in same day
$160
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in same day
$75

Available times

716 W 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012716 W 1st St
View hours of operation
  • Mon 7:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Tue 7:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Wed 7:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Thu 7:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Fri 7:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • SatClosed
  • SunClosed
tomi-medical-center-urgent-care
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PCR Test
Rapid
Time to results unknown
$85
Antigen Test
Time to results unknown

Available times

4.9(693 reviews)
This clinic is rated highly in patient reviews and ratings

Highly Rated

1870 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 900271870 N Vermont Ave
OpenSat 7:00 am - 6:45 pm
  • Mon 7:00 am - 6:45 pm
  • Tue 7:00 am - 6:45 pm
  • Wed 7:00 am - 6:45 pm
  • Thu 7:00 am - 6:45 pm
  • Fri 7:00 am - 6:45 pm
  • Sat 7:00 am - 6:45 pm
  • Sun 7:00 am - 6:45 pm
sameday-health-los-feliz-hollywood-blvd
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PCR Test
Rapid
Results in same day
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in < 1 hour

Available times

5.0(2 reviews)
This clinic has shorter than average waiting periods

Short Wait Time

This clinic is rated highly in patient reviews and ratings

Highly Rated

This clinic is rated highly in reviews for their friendly staff

Friendly Staff

433 N 4th St, Montebello, CA 90640433 N 4th St
View hours of operation
  • Mon 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Tue 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Wed 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Thu 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Fri 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • SatClosed
  • SunClosed
ame-medical-group-montebello-urgent-care
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PCR Test
Time to results unknown
$100
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in 15 min
$75

Available times

5.0(537 reviews)
This clinic is rated highly in patient reviews and ratings

Highly Rated

1046 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 900151046 S Figueroa St
OpenSat 7:30 am - 3:00 pm
  • Mon 7:30 am - 5:30 pm
  • Tue 7:30 am - 5:30 pm
  • Wed 7:30 am - 7:30 pm
  • Thu 7:30 am - 5:30 pm
  • Fri 7:30 am - 5:30 pm
  • Sat 7:30 am - 3:00 pm
  • Sun 7:30 am - 3:00 pm
sameday-health-downtown-la-staples-center
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PCR Test
Rapid
Results in same day
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in < 1 hour

Available times

5.0(287 reviews)
This clinic is rated highly in patient reviews and ratings

Highly Rated

1715 N Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 900281715 N Cahuenga Blvd
OpenSat 7:30 am - 3:00 pm
  • Mon 7:00 am - 6:30 pm
  • Tue 7:00 am - 6:30 pm
  • Wed 7:00 am - 6:30 pm
  • Thu 7:00 am - 6:30 pm
  • Fri 7:00 am - 6:30 pm
  • Sat 7:30 am - 3:00 pm
  • Sun 7:30 am - 3:00 pm
sameday-health-hollywood-walk-of-fame
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PCR Test
Rapid
Results in same day
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in < 1 hour
$95

Available times

5.0(2 reviews)
This clinic is rated highly in patient reviews and ratings

Highly Rated

3270 Thornton Ave, Burbank, CA 915043270 Thornton Ave
View hours of operation
  • Mon 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
  • Tue 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
  • Wed 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
  • Thu 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
  • Fri 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
  • SatClosed
  • SunClosed
covid-clinic-burbank
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Bill Icon

Self-pay pricing

Clear self-pay prices

No more surprise bills. Solv is committed to making getting healthcare as easy as buying groceries at the store, including knowing the price of care upfront.

PCR Test
Rapid
Results in same day
$299
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in < 1 hour
$129

Available times

4.71(890 reviews)
This clinic is rated highly in patient reviews and ratings

Highly Rated

4811 Florence Ave, Montebello, CA 902014811 Florence Ave
View hours of operation
  • MonClosed
  • TueClosed
  • WedClosed
  • ThuClosed
  • FriClosed
  • SatClosed
  • SunClosed
ame-medical-group-bell-urgent-care
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Recent patient review

Samantha was great! Very friendly and helpful.
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Self-pay pricing

Clear self-pay prices

No more surprise bills. Solv is committed to making getting healthcare as easy as buying groceries at the store, including knowing the price of care upfront.

PCR Test
Rapid
Results in 1-3 days
$150
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in 15 min
$75

Available times

4.7(377 reviews)
This clinic has shorter than average waiting periods

Short Wait Time

This clinic is rated highly in patient reviews and ratings

Highly Rated

741 S Orange Ave, West Covina, CA 91790741 S Orange Ave
View hours of operation
  • Mon 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Tue 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Wed 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Thu 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Fri 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • SatClosed
  • SunClosed
ame-medical-group-west-covina-urgent-care
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Recent patient review

Excellent service, clean facility, fast test result, courteous and professional.
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No more surprise bills. Solv is committed to making getting healthcare as easy as buying groceries at the store, including knowing the price of care upfront.

PCR Test
Rapid
Results in 1-3 days
$150
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in 15 min
$75

Available times

4.12(17 reviews)
4700 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 900194700 W Pico Blvd
OpenSat 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Mon 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Tue 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Wed 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Thu 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Fri 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
  • Sat 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Sun 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
carbon-health-los-angeles-midtown-crossing
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Bill Icon

Self-pay pricing

Clear self-pay prices

No more surprise bills. Solv is committed to making getting healthcare as easy as buying groceries at the store, including knowing the price of care upfront.

PCR Test
Rapid
Results in 1-3 days
$160
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in same day
$75

Available times

4.68(256 reviews)
This clinic has shorter than average waiting periods

Short Wait Time

This clinic is rated highly in reviews for their friendly staff

Friendly Staff

616 Masselin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036616 Masselin Ave
View hours of operation
  • MonClosed
  • TueClosed
  • WedClosed
  • ThuClosed
  • FriClosed
  • SatClosed
  • SunClosed
chrome-management-chrome-management
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Recent patient review

Easy fast and efficient! Very friendly staff! My 3rd time. Great place to test!
PCR Test
Time to results unknown

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4.68(1.5k reviews)
12472 Washington Blvd, Whittier, CA 9060212472 Washington Blvd
OpenSat 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
  • Mon 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Tue 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Wed 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Thu 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Fri 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Sat10:00 am - 3:00 pm
  • SunClosed
ame-medical-group-whittier-i-urgent-care
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Recent patient review

El servicio fue muy confiable Gracias a todo el staff
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Clear self-pay prices

No more surprise bills. Solv is committed to making getting healthcare as easy as buying groceries at the store, including knowing the price of care upfront.

PCR Test
Rapid
Results in 1-3 days
$150
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in 15 min
$75

Available times

4.84(416 reviews)
This clinic has shorter than average waiting periods

Short Wait Time

This clinic is rated highly in patient reviews and ratings

Highly Rated

This clinic is rated highly in reviews for their friendly staff

Friendly Staff

459 S Azusa Ave, Azusa, CA 91702459 S Azusa Ave
View hours of operation
  • Mon 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Tue 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Wed11:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Thu 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Fri 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • SatClosed
  • SunClosed
reddy-care-medical
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Recent patient review

Great care..fast and very friendly
PCR Test
Results in 1-3 days

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VIDEO: Dr. Isaac Thomsen, pediatric infectious disease specialist, discusses COVID-19 and Delta variant and what in means for kids.Watch now!

Latest COVID-19 Testing Updates

Oct 31, 2022
A surge in respiratory syncytial virus is putting severe strain on children's hospitals nationwide. Hospitals first began seeing the unseasonable RSV rise in August. Now, many are reporting a case increase of over 300 percent compared to last month. (Becker's)
Oct 28, 2022
With the BQ.1.1 variant on the rise in Europe, experts express concern of a rise in COVID cases this winter; encourage everyone to max out their boosters and vaccinate their children (Houston Chronicle)

COVID-19 Testing FAQs

  • How much does COVID testing cost in Pasadena?

    In many cases, COVID testing can be free. Many state and local health departments continue to offer free testing to community residents as part of their response to the pandemic. In other cases, commercially insured patients, or those on Medicare or Medicaid, may receive testing at no out of pocket cost, or with a nominal office visit copay. For cash paying patients, or those that need rapid COVID testing which will deliver results in under an hour, COVID tests can range from $50 to $150 each. It is best to call your healthcare provider prior to getting tested to better understand the cost of the specific test you require.

  • Where can I get free COVID testing in Pasadena?

    COVID testing is available for free under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which includes testing for those without health insurance. Check with your Pasadena-area health department as they are generally a good source for free COVID tests, or can at least point you in the right direction. Additionally, you can ask your primary care provider to recommend a free COVID test site.

  • Where can I get COVID testing in Pasadena?

    COVID testing is available at many outlets near Pasadena including urgent care centers, retail clinics, primary care offices, health departments, and more. Different venues will have different types of tests available, many at different price points. Some testing sites are allowing walk-in patients, however, many are still requiring some degree of advance booking to control patient volume.

  • Where can I get a rapid COVID test in Pasadena?

    Rapid testing—both PCR (molecular) and antigen tests—is offered through many Pasadena-area urgent care centers and physician offices, usually at an additional cost ranging from $50 up to $150 per test. Usually this will allow you to get results back in under an hour, and require advanced booking through the provider. However, if you can wait 24 hours for your results, many labs are turning around send-out lab tests in that time frame, which could save you some money.

  • How to make an appointment for COVID testing in Pasadena?

    Same-day and next day appointments for COVID testing in Pasadena are bookable directly through Solv. Simply browse the list of healthcare providers conducting COVID tests above, find one with a “Book Online” button, and book a time that aligns with your schedule stating “COVID-19 Test” as your reason for visit.

  • Can I get tested for antibodies if I am sick with COVID-19 Pasadena?

    An antibody test for COVID-19 might inform you if you previously had a coronavirus infection. Because it can take between 1–3 weeks after an infection for your body to develop these antibodies, an antibody test during an active infection would not be successful. To see if you are currently infected, you need a viral test.

  • Do I need a COVID test if I have been vaccinated?

    Even if you have been fully vaccinated, if you have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, experts believe that you should be tested yourself, particularly if you are experiencing cold and flu symptoms commonly aligned with the coronavirus.

  • How long does COVID testing take?

    Getting a COVID test is quick. Most tests are done with a nasal swab, which takes less than a minute to swab both nostrils. Depending on where you get your COVID test, this means you could be in and out of the testing site in as little as 10-15 minutes. During busy times—particularly around holidays—testing sites may be busier than usual and wait times may be longer.

  • How long does it take to get COVID test results in Pasadena?

    Most labs are returning send-out molecular (PCR) COVID test results within 24-48 hours of the test. Some sites take longer, so call and ask if the reason for the test is proof for travel. Rapid COVID tests are processed on-site and are able to deliver results in under an hour, sometimes in as little as 15 min.

  • Do COVID tests detect the Delta variant and Omicron variant?

    Regular COVID tests are able to detect both the Delta variant and Omicron variant in that they can determine whether or not you have the coronavirus. However, they can't tell which variation is involved. That would necessitate genomic sequencing, which is a different process from regular virus testing that not all labs can undertake. Sequencing is uncommon and can cost up to $100 per test. Since the treatment is the same for any variant, it is not clinically useful to an individual patient to know whether the infection was caused by a variant or not.

Recent COVID-19 Testing Reviews (20)

The medical assistant/nurse that did my covid test was amazing.

- Verified patient on 7/29

They were busy at the time I was in for a rapid covid test. In fact I was tested there monday as well . Both times they handled the busy amount of patients with good manners and they were professional both times. Good job, and thank you again.

- Verified patient on 9/3

Just great I made an appointment fit a COVID test and I was in and out in 30 minutes.

- Verified patient on 1/26

Only did Covid test but staff was very accommodating Thank you

- Verified patient on 1/23

My ONLY complaint- which CAN be managed is that there should be, at the facility and at the end of filling out the online appointment (especially where it involves Covid testing) - that you can be waiting up to an hour (as I did) for a Covid PCR test - and you would see a nurse first, then a dr, then finally a nurse so as to understand the wait (we as patients/clients could then better manage our own appointments without feeling anxious or upset at staff) - and if it’s a Rapid Covid test - the time is quicker (maybe 30 minutes) . So since I brought my teen with me and naively thought I would be in and out in 15 min tops, he killed the car battery while listening to the radio- and I had to wait another 30 min for AAA service - etc. (I know- not the fault of the clinic- actually the staff was nice enough to let my kid use the bathroom while waiting for me.

- Verified patient on 9/4

Wait time of 30 minutes past my appointment time for a rapid COVID test, which itself took seconds with results in less than 10 minutes. Wait time way too long. Make sure you can actually see people at their appointment time.

- Verified patient on 8/27

I went for the rapid covid test. It was a little confusing but the staff quickly straightened us all out. The test was done and the results texted to me in 20 minutes. A great experience. I will be going back and using them for the regular covid test.

- Verified patient on 1/18

I needed a rapid response COVID test. I only waited 10 minutes, got my results in 20 minutes. The staff was friendly, there was parking and it made a scary experience much more pleasant.

- Verified patient on 7/30

Staff was very friendly and responsive. They kept to appointment time which made it an easy & quick way to get a COVID test.

- Verified patient on 11/6

Went for a rapid Covid test. Office was clean and staff was very helpful. Was in and out w my results in 30 mins!

- Verified patient on 6/21

Same day appointment and no waiting for a rapid covid test. Staff was very friendly and efficient.

- Verified patient on 4/16

I had an appointment for a rapid Covid test. I was greeted with “GoodMornings” from everyone and taken in right at appointed time. It was quick, efficient, and I felt safe and taken care of. And I got my results in less than 20 minutes!

- Verified patient on 10/26

We had to wait way too long for our Covid test.

- Verified patient on 1/4

For rapid Covid testing this was a very hassle free experience easy to schedule and reschedule appointments if needed, no wait time staff is incredibly friendly and helpful. I’ve use this urgent care before with an injury and their facilities and what they were able to provide for patients in terms of radiology and lab services really helps limit the use of emergency rooms. As a healthcare provider I appreciate that

- Verified patient on 9/18

This is my second time to this office for rapid covid testing. They are always fast, 20 mins in waiting area maximum. The first time I did a rapid covid test it was in Glendale and I waited for 5 hours. Everyone in this office is kind, fast and understanding. Thank you !!

- Verified patient on 10/19

I am a health care worker and needed to get a Covid test. They were the fastest but wish I could have them as my Dr. very efficient, friendly, clean.

- Verified patient on 9/27

I came for PCR Covid test with an appointment. All went smoothly and easily.

- Verified patient on 12/7

Friendly staff, busy urgent care. I made an appointment but had to wait about 25 minutes. No issues and quick 15 minute results for the rapid covid test.

- Verified patient on 7/17

Rachel at the front desk was wonderful. She was very friendly, welcoming, and quick to process us. She made sure others in the waiting room maintained distance and wore their masks. I was a little surprised at the wait time as there was just one family ahead of us. We had appointment at 1pm. We already had completed paperwork ahead of our arrival. We arrived and checked in at 12:55 but we weren’t seen until 1:45. We were done by 1:55 All we needed was a PCR Covid test. When the doctor finally saw us, it was a brief exchange and then he had someone else come in to do the test. That person was great with my fearful and squirming 19 month old as he swabbed my daughter’s nostrils and gave me information while my child was wailing in my arms. He maintained his calm and even brought stickers for my patient and her brother. Overall, I am very thankful to have found a pediatric urgent care that is clean, was fairly empty, and the staff were all wonderful.

- Verified patient on 8/18

I am still waiting on abnormally long time for a simple Covid test and staff were not clear on wait times. Aside from that everything was great but the wait time clouded the experience

- Verified patient on 10/27

Pasadena COVID Testing & Rapid Testing

Types of COVID Tests

There are two types of coronavirus tests (COVID-19 tests) available, those that can test for a current infection (viral test) and those that can test for a past infection (antibody test).

Viral COVID testing can be done in a few different ways, the most common being nose swabs, but saliva tests are becoming more popular. Some tests are processed out on-site and can provide results in as little as 30 minutes. These are called rapid COVID tests. The majority of tests, on the other hand, are collected at the clinic on-site and then submitted to off-site labs for processing. Results can take up to 2-3 days to arrive. 

Antibody testing looks for a past infection and may not reveal if you have an active COVID-19 infection because antibodies can take up to three weeks to form in your body. The presence of COVID antibodies may help to prevent you from becoming infected with the same virus again; but, because the clinical understanding of COVID-19 is still developing, it's unclear how long that protection will continue.

Who should get tested for current infection

The CDC currently defines four instances where COVID testing is recommended:

  1. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 including fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.
  2. If you have been in close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19. Close contact is defined as within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. If you have been vaccinated, or tested positive in the past 3 months and not experiencing symptoms, you do not need to be tested.
  3. If you are unvaccinated and participated in high-risk activities where distancing is not an option. This could include travel, large social or mass gatherings, crowded indoor settings, etc.
  4. If you have been referred to get a COVID test by your healthcare provider or local health department. 

How is testing done for COVID-19?

Most COVID tests are collected by a nasal swab. A member of the medical team puts a swab inside your nose for a few seconds on each side to collect the sample. After that, the samples are packaged according to CDC guidelines and tested on-site or transported to a facility for testing. The lab will test samples for the presence of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which causes COVID infection and either your care provider or the lab will notify you with the results as soon as they are available.

PCR vs Antigen Testing

Viral COVID tests are available as molecular and antigen tests. The molecular test, also known as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, usually delivers results within a few days since most of these tests are sent to offsite labs for analysis. The average turnaround time for PCR test results is 48 hours, but in some instances may be significantly longer due to backlogs related to insufficient lab volume and capacity. Antigen tests are also known as rapid tests and have an average turnaround time of between 15 to 30 minutes.

Both PCR and rapid COVID tests can be used to test people exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, those who were close contacts to COVID-19, and those without COVID-19 symptoms who live or work in a high-risk setting (such as a nursing facility); or those individuals who are identified as part of outbreak detection and response. The rapid COVID test is also recommended for the screening of residents or healthcare workers at skilled nursing facilities along with a PCR confirmation, and for repeat screening for the early detection and prevention of outbreaks in congregate settings (such as schools, workplaces, and prisons).

COVID testing is available for free under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which includes testing for those without health insurance. To reduce the risk of facing extra costs related to COVID testing, ask your primary care doctor to recommend a free COVID test site, and confirm there are no charges or fees for the test that are not covered by your insurance plan. Additionally, avoid getting a COVID test at a hospital or free-standing emergency room, as these facilities may charge fees for COVID testing and related services.

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