Editor's note: This story was last updated on January 13.

While Pima County officials are working to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible, transmission of the illness continues to remain high in the county. 

If you are need of a COVID-19 test, there are several free testing locations through Pima County including sites with regular hours and drive-thru testing.

There are also one-day pop-up sites where you can walk up for a test and do not need to make an appointment.

You can likely schedule an appointment either same-day or within a couple of days. You're likely to have better luck making an appointment sooner at the sites offering the nasal swab tests versus the saliva-based tests. 

At the county COVID-19 testing centers, anyone who wants a test can get one without a doctor's orders regardless of whether they have symptoms. Testing at these sites is available for anyone ages 5 and up. 

Here's what else to know about getting a free test. 

Who should get a test?

The health department recommends testing for anyone who was within six feet of a person who had the virus for 15 minutes or more. 

"You should be tested between 4-7 days after potential exposure and self-quarantine immediately," says Caitlin Jensen a spokeswoman for the health department. 

If you are tested you should remain at home and self-quarantine until you receive your results. 

Where can you get a free test?

There are several locations that offer free testing in different areas of Tucson run by the county and other community partners. Each site has different hours of operations but between them all there is an opportunity to get a test every day of the week.

Many sites require that you make an appointment in advance, while some will offer walk-up testing.

In recent months, appointments were typically available same day but currently there is a few days wait for the next available appointments.

Kino Event Center, 2805 E. Ajo Way

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. This site will be closed on Monday, Jan. 18 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

Test type: Nasal swab

Appointments are required. Make an appointment online or by phone at 855-452-2346.

Morris K. Udall Center, 7200 E. Tanque Verde Road

Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Test type: Nasal swab

Appointments are required. Make an appointment online or by phone at 855-452-2346.

Ellie Towne Center, 1660 W. Ruthrauff Road

For this test you should be well-hydrated, rinse your mouth with water and refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and chewing gum at least 30 minutes prior to your appointment. You'll be asked for your photo ID and the QR code from your appointment confirmation. You'll be given a test tube and straw and asked to fill the tube with saliva to a certain line, then you hand it back to staff and can leave. 

Hours: Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, 7 a.m. to noon. 

Test type: Saliva

Appointments are required. See the schedule and make an appointment online. If you are not able to make an appointment online you can go to the center and staff will help you set up your appointment.

Downtown Tucson Testing Center at TEP headquarters, 88 E. Broadway

The testing site is in the parking lot on the south side of the Tucson Electric Power building on the northwest corner of South Sixth Avenue and East 12th Street. 

Hours: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This site will be closed on Monday, Jan. 18 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

Test type: Nasal swap

Appointments are preferred but walk-ups may be accepted depending on availability. Make an appointment online here.

Congress Parking Garage, 400 W. Congress Street

Hours: Thursdays, 6-9 a.m. 

Test type: Saliva

Appointments are required. Register online and use the agency code 'SALIVATEST' when you complete your registration. 

Hours: Mondays and Wednesdays, 5-8 p.m.; Saturdays, 7 a.m. to noon. 

Registration is required. Call El Rio Health at 520-670-3909 to make an appointment, staff is available for scheduling Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Drive-Thru Tests

Three drive-thru, saliva testing sites are being set up at Pima Community College campuses in partnership with Arizona State University and the Arizona Department of Health Services. One is already up and running, with two others opening the first week of December. Appointments are required and you're asked to arrive no earlier than 15 minutes before your scheduled time. 

Appointments for all three drive-thru locations can be made online here. Use the agency code 'SALIVATEST' when registering. 

During a recent check, these sites had limited availability for appointments. If an appointment isn't available for the dates you select, you're advised to check back frequently as some people may cancel. 

PCC West Campus, 2202 W. Anklam Road

Hours: Mondays except national holidays and Dec. 28, 9 a.m. to noon. 

PCC Desert Vista Campus, 5901 S. Calle Santa Cruz

Hours: Wednesdays from 9 a.m to noon starting Dec. 2. Testing is not available on national holidays or Dec. 30. 

PCC East Campus, 8181 E. Irvington Road

Hours: Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon starting Dec. 4. Testing is not available on national holidays. 

Pop-up testing centers

You can get a test without making an appointment at temporary testing centers throughout the county. The Pima County Health Department keeps an updated list of pop-up sites on its website, check it frequently for new locations. Results are available between 3-5 days at these locations. 

Other testing options

Search the Arizona Department of Health Services website to find other providers like urgent care offices and pharmacies that offer COVID-19 testing. Criteria, billing and registration requirements vary by location. 

What to bring

Pack your face mask and your photo ID for appointments at the county and ASU run sites.

For some sites you may be given a QR code when you register, be sure to have that handy when you check in. 

If you arrive early, wait in your car or outside the building distanced away from others until your appointment time. 

How long do you have to wait for your results?

In most cases test results are available within 48 hours. The turnaround time at the pop-up sites is 3-5 days.  

Still have questions?

Find the most up-to-date COVID-19 county testing center information here. Find a full list of other COVID-19 information and resources from the county here.


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