How Does Covid-19 At-Home Testing Work?

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How Does Covid-19 At-Home Testing Work?

Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Written by Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Tessa is a MSN prepared Registered Nurse with 12 years of critical care experience in healthcare. When not practicing clinical nursing, she enjoys academic writing and is passionate about helping those affected by medical aliments live healthy lives.

October 27, 2020 / Read Time 5 minutes

*NOTE:  Due to a lack of scientific data at this time, PlushCare physicians do not prescribe ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, or azithromycin/other antibiotics to treat COVID-19.

At-Home COVID-19 Testing

Whether you are sick with COVID-19 symptoms or you have been exposed to somebody who has the coronavirus, the last thing you want to do is go to the doctor's office to get tested while potentially exposing others.

You may be wondering, "Can I buy a test for COVID-19 and test myself at home?" Luckily, at-home COVID testing is now available.

How does it work, and how effective is it? Here's what you need to know.

Can I Test Myself for the Coronavirus at Home?

Yes, you can be mailed a coronavirus testing kit and test yourself at home following an appointment with a PlushCare doctor. Your testing kit will come with instructions so you can safely collect and store your sample before shipping it back to the lab.

If you meet the below criteria, you should consider getting tested for COVID-19:

  • You have been asked or referred to get testing by your healthcare provider or local or state health department.

  • You have had close contact (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more) with someone with confirmed COVID-19.

  • You have symptoms of COVID-19.

  • If you do not meet these criteria but still want at-home testing you may still able to get it, though it may be up to your doctor's discretion.

  1. 1

    Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  2. 2

    See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  3. 3

    Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

Symptoms of COVID-19

These are the most common symptoms of COVID-19, which usually start 2-14 days after exposure to the coronavirus:

  • Cough

  • Fever or chills

  • Fatigue

  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath

  • Headache

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Sore throat

  • Runny nose or congestion

  • New loss of smell or taste

COVID-19 Testing Near Me

To locate the nearest COVID-19 testing center to you, PlushCare recommends contacting your local health department. They will be able to give you testing center locations as well as the requirements needed to receive a coronavirus test.

For those who'd prefer to get tested without leaving home, PlushCare can provide an at-home testing kit. At-home testing kits bring testing to your door, so you don't need to worry about finding the nearest testing center or spreading the virus.

Learn more about how to get a testing kit overnighted to your door here. Or simply book an appointment to request a test here.

What Is the Best Way to Get a Test for the Coronavirus Disease?

The best way to get a test for the coronavirus is to have an online appointment with a doctor who can then send you an at-home testing kit.

Virtual doctor's appointments and at-home testing reduce exposure for the general public and healthcare workers, by keeping those who may be infected at home.

The at-home testing kit that PlushCare is offering is a lower nasal swab which is quick and painless. Your kit comes with everything you need to collect and return your sample.

PlushCare's At-Home Testing Services

PlushCare's at-home testing services make it easy to get tested for the coronavirus from the comfort of your home.

Benefits of At-Home Testing

Benefits of at-home COVID-19 testing include:

  • Convenience and reduced risk of exposing others - no need to leave home

  • Increased access to testing - people who may not be able to get to a testing center are able to receive testing

How Much Does COVID-19 At-Home Testing Cost?

Most patients with insurance pay nothing. For those without insurance, the cost is $125.

These costs are separate from the cost of your online doctor visit, which is as $30 with in-network insurance and $129 for self-pay patients. Follow up visits cost $99 for self-pay patients.

How Do COVID-19 At-Home Tests Work?

Here's how at-home coronavirus tests work:

  • First, you need to have an online doctor's appointment. If the doctor determines that you meet certain criteria, you will be shipped an at-home COVID-19 test.

  • It takes around 24 hours for the test to arrive at your home, although shipping delays may occur. You will get an email and tracking information once the test has been ordered and shipped. Testing kits are shipped via FedEx.

  • You'll get a package containing an instruction pamphlet, the swab, and return packaging.

  • To ensure you get a good sample, closely follow the enclosed instructions. You can also talk to PlushCare's on-call nurses through our unlimited in-app messaging feature.

  • You'll collect your sample with a lower nasal swab. There is no need to dig too far into your nasal cavity - about an inch should do it.

  • Send the sample back using the enclosed return package and instructions.

  • 2-3 business days after the lab receives your sample, you will get an email when your results are ready to view in your PlushCare Patient Portal.

  • The entire process from the time of your appointment to getting your results should take around 3-5 business days.

  • Once you get your results, a PlushCare doctor will follow up with you to discuss your results and what to do if they come back positive.

Are At-Home COVID-19 Tests Authorized by the FDA?

Yes. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for COVID-19 at-home tests. 

Are COVID-19 At-Home Tests Accurate?

Yes. According to LabCorp, the test that PlushCare uses is 92-100% accurate with a 95% confidence interval according to the FDA's Emergency Use Authorization Summary (EAU).

When taken correctly, at-home tests are just as effective as those administered by healthcare professionals.

  1. 1

    Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  2. 2

    See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  3. 3

    Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

Should I Get a COVID-19 At-Home Test?

If you know you've been exposed to somebody who has coronavirus or you're experiencing symptoms, you should get a COVID-19 at-home test. Knowing whether you are infected can help contain the spread of the disease and save lives.

It is important to note that PlushCare only offers antigen testing, which shows current infections. PlushCare does not offer an at-home COVID-19 antibody test that would indicate whether you have had COVID-19 in the past and recovered.

A PlushCare doctor can however order you an in-person antibody lab test.

How to Get a COVID-19 At-Home Test Online

To get a coronavirus at-home test online, simply click here, call 1-800-221-5140, or download the PlushCare app to make an appointment with one of our licensed doctors.

If they determine that you meet the criteria, they can send you an at-home test. You collect your sample, mail it back, and wait for your results. Get started with COVID-19 at-home testing here.

Read More About Coronavirus


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