COVID Testing Q&A

There are many questions surrounding COVID-19 testing and what is available at Jefferson Community Health & Life. While information continues to change and evolve, here is the current information.

What are symptoms of COVID-19?

Fever, 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, and/or diarrhea

If a person has symptoms, what should they do?

We encourage people with COVID-related symptoms to call JCH&L Fairbury Clinic at 402-729-3361 and choose option 1 to make an appointment with one of our providers. The person making the appointment will ask you what your symptoms are. Depending on symptoms, you may be scheduled for a car visit – which because of changing weather will soon be held in a designated location at the health center. The patient will be given instructions on location.  You will be assessed by a provider. The provider will determine whether or not COVID testing is appropriate.

Those who have emergency warning signs of COVID-19 should call JCH&L at 402-729-3351 before coming to the emergency room. Signs that you need emergency care immediately include: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face.

If you need an emergency visit and have COVID-related symptoms, you may be asked to go directly to the entrance for our negative pressure rooms. You will be given instructions.

What if a person needs a test before having surgery?

The ordering facility will call JCH&L health center and we will contact the patient.

If the patient has time for a longer turnaround time, they could also utilize TestNebraska. Test Nebraska is currently at JCH&L each Tuesday providing free COVID-19 testing. Register on-line at On the site you can also see all TestNebraska testing sites available.

What if someone needs a test before travel?

Those who need a test for travel should register online for Tests are free through TestNebraska.

If you need testing for travel and the timing for TestNebraska won’t meet your needs, you can request a private-pay test, which is about $220.

What if a person does not have symptoms, but wonders if they have COVID-19?

TestNebraska can typically be utilized for:

  • Asymptomatic individuals who have no known exposures
  • Known positives wondering if they are still carrying the virus (NOTE: one negative result does not eliminate the 10-day isolation period)
  • Individuals in their 14-day quarantine who are curious if they have the virus (NOTE: it is mandatory to quarantine for all 14 days. Individuals can’t ‘test out’ of quarantine)
  • Individuals wanting free pre-op testing who can afford a shorter turn-around time
  • Individuals needing or wanting COVID testing before or after travel
  • Individuals concerned about asymptomatically spreading the virus to patients, coworkers, family or friends
  • Symptomatic individuals who are willing to wait longer and don’t want to make an appointment (NOTE: these individuals are expected to quarantine until they receive their results)
  • Individuals who do not meet requirements for the 14-day quarantine, but were exposed to someone who was exposed to a known positive and are genuinely concerned for their health and the health of those around them

What about health care workers and public safety officials (such as ambulance or law enforcement)?

Those with symptoms should call JCH&L health center at 402-729-3351.

Does insurance pay for COVID-19 testing?

Typically, if a person has symptoms and a COVID-19 test is ordered or if they are required to have pre-op testing, insurance will cover COVID-19 testing.  If a test is ordered for travel purposes or curiosity, there is an approximate $220 private pay charge for a test.

TestNebraska is offered free for qualifying individuals. Please note, the availability of testing supplies and test kits may affect what the criteria are for qualifying for TestNebraska.