Take-Home COVID-19 Tests Hitting Local Store Shelves Soon

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You’ll soon be seeing more take-home COVID-19 tests on local store shelves.

Or, you can get them shipped to your home, too.

These tests have FDA emergency use authorization and don’t require prescriptions.

While local health officials are glad more testing options are available for Connecticut residents, they remind people these tests aren’t always accurate.

Dr. Ulysses Wu, chief epidemiologist for Hartford Healthcare reminds folks, “The gold standard is still coming to us and getting that PCR test, but I am all for this.”

Wu and Connecticut’s Department of Public health agrees the more testing we have, the better to get people the care they need.

In a statement, Acting Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford says in part that, “Self test or at home tests can be one more tool in our efforts to control the spread of COVID-19.”

But she and Wu remind us that the virus takes time to incubate, so you will still need to isolate while you wait for results.

“I go home. I stick something in my nose. The test comes back negative and I’m like I’m good to go party. Taking my mask off, going out to eat,” Wu says, “That’s not the way it works.”

He reminds folks the rapid, “antigen test depends on the timing, depends on the symptoms, so we shouldn’t rely on a negative test if we have high suspicion that they have COVID.”

Wu says after exposure you need to wait five, plus or minus two days, to get tested for best results or immediately if and when you may have symptoms.

Experts we spoke to say talk with your healthcare provider when using these tests.

And while they aren’t covered by insurance, retailers hope this is an affordable option for folks who can’t make an appointment or find the time to get tested.

“We’re really excited to get our customers and patients get one step closer to normal,” said Brian Eason, CVS Health VP of Merchandising.

COVID testing at CVS Pharmacies still exists, but three take home tests went on sale on their website Tuesday and will soon be sold in stores, too. 

Walmart just announced they will also carry an at home, rapid test. 

The CDC reminds people using these tests to check the expiration date on the kit, disinfect the surface where you’ll do the test, wash your hands, and follow instructions. 

“It’s a monetary opportunity that is for sure, but when that juxtaposes with care to people who may not have access to care, I think that’s a good thing,” said Wu.

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