Updated October 25, 2021

Anyone who has symptoms or has had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 can take an at-home COVID-19 test. 

Some tests require that samples be mailed in and provide results in 24-48 hours. “Instant” or “rapid” tests provide results in about 15 minutes. At-home tests range from about 85% to 97% accurate.

At-home tests are available over the counter at many local pharmacies, drug stores, and grocery stores. They are also available by mail from online retailers. If you have insurance, it may cover the cost of at-home COVID testing.  

How do I use an at-home test? When do I do it?

Each home test kit comes with its own instructions, and you have to follow the instructions that came with your test. If you do not follow the instructions carefully, you may not get accurate results.  

For the most accurate results, you should test 5 to 7 days after a COVID exposure or within the first few days after you first feel sick or have symptoms.  

What happens if I test positive?

If you have a positive result, you should consider yourself positive for COVID-19 and:

  • Call your healthcare provider as soon as possible. There may be treatment available, but some treatment depends on acting quickly. If you don’t have a healthcare provider, call 211 for help finding one. 

How do I report a positive test result?

If your job includes interaction with the public, you should tell your employer so you can help limit the spread of COVID-19. You are not currently required to report a positive result from an at-home test to the local or state Health Authority. 

What if I have a negative result, but I still think I may have COVID-19?

If you think you may have COVID-19 because you were exposed or have symptoms, then we recommend that you quarantine and seek another COVID-19 test through your regular healthcare provider. If you don’t have a healthcare provider, call 211 for help finding testing.

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