Coronavirus Testing: What To Know As It Becomes Available Across The U.S. : Shots – Health News : NPR

If a patient is suspected of having COVID-19, the person will most likely be tested at a hospital.

A medical professional will swab inside a patient’s nostril and throat. If the patient has a wet cough, the health care worker will also collect sputum (the mixture of saliva and mucus that is coughed up). These samples will then be examined in a lab for genetic material that
indicates whether the coronavirus is present.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that it is now shipping test kits to labs across the country …

So who decides who’ll be tested?

Right now, it’s up to state and local health departments to decide whom to test. The CDC provides clinical criteria to health care professionals for determining whether someone should be classified as a person under investigation for COVID-19.

someone is very sick and/or has reason to believe they’ve been exposed
to the virus, the doctor is likely to decide the person does not need to
be tested for coronavirus.