Free at-home coronavirus tests available for order, even without COVID exposure or symptoms

  • A medical worker holds a Corona rapid test kit in a test van in Frankfurt, Germany, Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021. Numbers of Corona infections are steadily rising again. (AP Photo/Michael Probst) Michael Probst

Monitor staff
Published: 11/29/2021 9:35:40 PM
Modified: 11/29/2021 9:35:33 PM

Granite Staters can now order at-home rapid COVID-19 tests for free through the state’s partnership with the National Institute of Health and Amazon.

Eight rapid COVID-19 tests can be ordered at sayyeshometest.org and will be delivered via Amazon within seven days. Recipients of the tests will swab the inside of both nostrils and results will appear within 15 minutes.

Regular testing, even among those who are vaccinated or without COVID-19 symptoms, can help detect infection early and prevent community spread. Testing is not a replacement for other mitigation strategies, like mask-wearing, vaccination, or social distancing, but an additional layer of protection.

Recipients will receive a Quidel QuickVue test, a rapid antigen test that was approved for emergency use by the U.S Food and Drug Administration. Any resident of New Hampshire older than two is eligible to receive a free batch of tests.

When the QuickVue test was compared to a molecular COVID-19 test — what is widely considered the gold standard of coronavirus testing — it correctly identified 83.5% of positive specimens and 99.2% of negative specimens. Generally, this means a positive test result likely means the test recipient has COVID-19 while a negative test result is less conclusive.

A negative test result could just indicate that there is not enough virus in the body to be detected, which is why the program recommends continuing testing twice a week following a negative result.

According to the program’s website, recipients with no COVID-19 symptoms should swab themselves twice a week, with at least one day in between, until all of the provided tests are used up. People with symptoms, such as a cough, fever or, diarrhea, should use their test kit immediately and those who have recently been exposed to the virus should wait three to five days after the exposure to use their kit.

COVID-19 vaccination will not affect the results of at-home tests. Recipients should continue testing prior to and after vaccination.

After all eight tests are used, Granite Staters are not eligible to place another order of tests through the program, according to the website. Each household is limited to eight tests, though damaged or lost tests may be replaced through a local health department while supplies last.

National Institute of Health-funded researchers at Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill will use test results to study factors like test positivity rate, COVID-19-related illness and hospitalizations, and measurements of viral particles in sewage wastewater. Similar partnerships have been conducted in a handful of other areas with high levels of community transmission and infrastructure to support the program, such as Pitt County, North Carolina, and Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Though a name and address are required for shipping purposes, any data shared outside the program will be anonymous and not tied to a name, address, phone number, or any other information that individually identifies someone. Recipients have the option to answer additional survey questions are that are designed to determine whether self-administered testing has made a difference in behavior, knowledge on preventing the spread of COVID-19, and thoughts about vaccinations.




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