BACKGROUND: Primary care practices have experienced major strains during the COVID-19 pandemic, such that patients newly seeking care may face potential barriers to timely visits. OBJECTIVE: To quantify availability and wait times for new patient appointments in primary care and to describe how primary care practices are guiding patients with suspected COVID-19. DESIGN: Trained callers conducted simulated patient calls to 800 randomly sampled primary care practices between September 14, 2020, and September 28, 2020. PARTICIPANTS: We extracted complete primary care physician listings from large commercial insurance networks in four geographically dispersed states between September 10 and 14, 2020 (n=11,521). After excluding non-physician providers and removing duplicate phone numbers, we identified 2705 unique primary care physician practices from which we randomly sampled 200 practices in each region. MAIN MEASURES: Primary care appointment availability, median wait time in days, and practice guidance to patients suspecting COVID-19 infection. KEY RESULTS: Among 56% of listed practices that had accurate contact information listed in the directory, 84% offered a new patient in-person or virtual appointment. Median wait time was 10 days (IQR 3-26 days). The most common guidance in case of suspected COVID-19 was clinician consultation, which was offered in 41% of completed calls. Callers were otherwise directed to on-site testing (14%), off-site testing (24%), a COVID-19 hotline (8%), or an urgent care/emergency department (12%), while 2% of practices had no guidance to offer. CONCLUSIONS: Despite resource constraints, most reachable primary care practices offered timely new patient appointments as well as direct COVID-19 care. Pandemic mitigation strategies should account for and support the central role of primary care practices in the community-based pandemic response.