How to test and receive results

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Getting Tested

Eligibility

The test is available to current students, faculty, staff and retirees at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign who have active NetIDs. 

Community members, family members and visitors can test through SHIELD CU. Please visit the SHIELD CU website for more information, including testing locations and hours.

Cost

The test is free.

Before getting tested

You should refrain from eating, drinking, tooth brushing, mouth washing, gum chewing, and tobacco use for at least one hour before submitting your saliva sample at the test location.

Make sure you bring your current iCard or have the Illinois app downloaded.

The testing process

You will be asked to provide a saliva sample. The sample collection only takes a few minutes.

View the step-by-step testing process

When you arrive at an on-campus testing location, you will be asked the following questions:

  • Have you had anything to eat, drink, smoke or chew in the last 60 minutes?
  • You will then swipe your i-Card or show your Status Card QR code in the Illinois app so we can locate your record.
  • Is the cell phone number listed correct? This number will be used if you test positive or for contact tracing. You must respond to calls to this number or risk disciplinary action.
  • Is the address listed correct?

You can choose to not answer the next two questions, in which case “unknown” will be selected. The Illinois Department of Public Health has requested we ask each person’s race who is tested on-campus. Providing this information is optional for each person who is tested.

  • Do you identify as Hispanic/Latino?
  • What race do you most identify with?

Individuals will verify that their name is correct on the test tube label. Next, you will move to a saliva station where you will take the lid off the test tube and dribble saliva into the tube. Once complete, replace the lid and take the tube to the collection station.

At collection, you will hold up your test tube so staff can confirm that there is enough saliva in the tube. Staff will ask that you return to a test station if enough saliva is not in the tube.

You will be offered a copy of a COVID-19 Test Fact Sheet for Patients. If you do not want to take a physical copy, an online copy is available in PDF format.

Test Results

Getting your results

Typical test results are expected within 12 hours, but results could take up to 48 hours.

  • Faculty, staff and students will be emailed when their results are available in the McKinley Health Center Patient Portal
  • If you have not used the McKinley Health Center Patient Portal before, you can check for results by logging in with your University of Illinois NetID and password and clicking on the Messages icon. You will need to use 2-Factor Authentication (2FA) to log in. Support information for getting 2FA set up is available online. If your test results are available, you will see a secure message for your Saliva COVID test results.
  • You can print your full COVID-19 test results in the MyMcKinley portal. Click the “Labs” tab in the menu and select your test result to print an official copy.

How results are processed and stored

  • On-campus COVID-19 test results are analyzed, exported, validated, and pushed for recording in Medicat, the secure electronic health record used by McKinley Health Center.
  • From Medicat, the test results are reported to the Illinois Department of Public Health and Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, which will contact individuals who test positive.
  • Saliva samples are collected for COVID-19 testing only unless individuals have agreed to participate in a COVID-19 research study.

Questions about testing and results

The University of Illinois COVID Wellness Answer Center is available to answer questions about on-campus testing and results. 

Please contact the COVID Wellness Answer Center by email at covidwellness@illinois.edu or call 217-333-1900. Please email for faster response times.

FAQ

My test results came back “invalid.” What does that mean?

Invalid results typically occur when non-optimal saliva samples are submitted. Before your next test, please be sure to refrain from eating, drinking, tooth brushing, mouth washing, or tobacco use for at least 1 hour prior to submitting your saliva sample. For best results, it is recommended to hydrate during the morning and get tested in the afternoon.

How can I print an official copy of my COVID-19 test results?

Go to your MyMcKinley portal. Click the “Labs” tab in the menu and select your test result to print an official copy.

Why am I being asked for my race at the testing sites?

The Illinois Department of Public Health has requested we ask each person’s race who is tested on-campus. Providing this information is optional for each person who is tested.