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The following was sent to me to post here.

Testimonial: Trying to get testing information in New Jersey

Preamble. I wasted a lot of time trying to find out about COVID-19 testing in NJ. The goal of the following is not to give information about testing; the answers on how to get tested change rapidly, and should be provided by experts. Instead, these are quick tips based on my experience for how to efficiently get information on testing.

Related: Be prepared for incorrect logistical instructions. This whole chase got started by incorrect logistical instructions from an on-call doctor with my PCP's office (I was told to go to the local ER so that I could be tested. Fortunately I called the ER first and did not go). I later got incorrect logistical instructions from that ER and another department at that hospital. Normally, all three sources give easy-to-follow logistical instructions. Takeaway: Everyone's learning, so manage expectations and be prepared to ask short clarifying questions if something doesn't seem clear. (To be clear: I do not believe I was given any incorrect medical instructions.)

Your Doctor. Independently of this chase (and after it concluded), my PCP checked in on me to let me know he would like me to be tested, and referred my case to the DOH. It seems he also reached out to the local hospital. Takeaway: Presumably, you are already in touch with your doctor about treatment. Your doctor may or may not have their own testing ability, and may or may not know how to get in touch with someone who does. The rest of this started because my on-call doctor suggested I try making my own plans for getting tested.

Anything involving CDC/DOH. I was instructed (by the hospital near me) twice to "call the CDC" or "call my local DOH" to discuss my individual testing situation. Both were incorrect instructions—the generic CDC/DOH numbers I was given are for generic COVID-19 information, not for discussing individual cases. Takeaway: I would not expect a generic CDC or DOH number to discuss your personal case with you, even if a healthcare provider told you to try (especially if their website explicitly says so, like NJ-DOH:

Urgent Care sites. I wouldn't have thought to call urgent care sites until it was suggested by my employer. Everyone I called was responsive to phone (as of 3/17), and quickly gave me useful information about whether they would test me if I came in. Takeaway: Calling them is an efficient way to get information (while their phones are not overwhelmed, at least).

If it's helpful to have the results of my calls: