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What you need to know about at-home COVID tests

covid at-home test.jpg
Posted at 10:24 PM, Jan 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-10 22:58:20-05

(WXMI) — At-home COVID-19 tests are in high demand, many stores can’t keep them in stock. How can you get one? When should you take one? Are they accurate? And why you soon may not have pay for them—FOX 17 has some helpful things to know:

How to buy self-tests:

You’re doing the responsible thing and want to test yourself for COVID, that’s a good first step.

Second, start searching your local drug stores or chains like CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Meijer or Rite Aid, which all carry several different self-test options. Unfortunately, their websites will no longer tell you which stores near you have them in stock, so you will want to check several locations.

You’re going to find a lot of stores are sold out, if that’s the case try and ask a worker to see when they get shipments in, if it’s a regular schedule, head there that day.

If you are dismayed by the lack of in-store supply, you can also try shopping online on those stores’ websites or on Amazon.

One thing you want to make sure is that you’re buying tests authorized for emergency use by the FDA. Click here for a list of ones they’ve green-lit for use.

Also make sure you are buying tests from a reputable seller, so you avoid price-gouging or getting scammed.

“We just want people to make sure that you are looking those companies up, look at who that seller is, how you can contact them what they do with those tests. If they can't tell you online what they do with that test, where do you mail it to and who processes it and how that process works? Chances are it's a scam,” says Katie Grevious with Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan

To be extra safe, experts recommend buying them on credit cards, so you can dispute the charges if you run into trouble.

On average, COVID test kits should you run about $10-12 per test but starting this weekend, you could get them for free.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says private insurers will now be required to pay for eight tests per month, per person, either by covering the cost up-front or through reimbursement.

Some tests are already FSA eligible.

The Biden Administration also announced they were making plans to send 500 million rapid tests to Americans for free, but that process could take weeks to unfold. A website is expected to be launched this month where people can sign up to receive them.

When should you self-test?

The state health department (MDHHS) recommends self-testing if you have symptoms of COVID or if you came in close contact with someone who tested positive. If it's the latter and you remain asymptomatic, you should wait about 5 days before taking the test.

Click here for the state's self-testing guidelines.

The at-home tests are more accurate if a person is symptomatic and will still detect the Omicron variant, but they are not as accurate as a lab conducted PCR test.

When conducting the test, keep in mind all self-test kits are different so follow the directions to a T to ensure accuracy.

If your results show you are positive, you should self-isolate and let people close to you know.

You can also help the state keep track of things by reporting your positive test to your local health department.

If you have any doubts about your positive or negative test result, schedule a PCR test at any of the nearby testing locations.