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How Does Covid-19 At-Home Testing Work?

writtenByWritten by: Leah McCabe
Leah McCabe

Leah McCabe

Leah likes writing about health and science subjects. Through her writing she hopes to help people of all backgrounds have equal access to information and quality healthcare.

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October 27, 2020 Read Time - 6 minutes

At-Home COVID-19 Testing

Whether you’re sick with COVID-19 symptoms or you’ve 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’ve been asked or referred to get testing by your healthcare provider or local or state ​health department.
  • You’ve 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, it’ll be up to your doctors discretion.
  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

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

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

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

PlushCare-App-Steps

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. You can have your results in as little as 48 hours and 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
  • Faster results – other tests can take 10 days or longer to get results compared to just 2-3 days
  • 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 in addition to the cost of your PlushCare appointment, which is as low as your regular copay with insurance and $99 for those without it.

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’s 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.
  • 2-4 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.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

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

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

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

PlushCare-App-Steps

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’re infected can help contain the spread of the disease and save lives. 

It’s 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 (888)798-0620, 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


Sources

US Food and Drug Administration. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Authorizes First Standalone At-Home Sample Collection Kit That Can Be Used With Certain Authorized Tests. Accessed on October 25, 2020 at https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-authorizes-first-standalone-home-sample-collection-kit-can-be-used

LabCorp. Healthcare Providers and Payers: COVID-19 Active Infection Testing Information and Resources. Accessed on October 25, 2020 at https://www.labcorp.com/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/providers/infection-test

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 Testing Overview. Accessed on October 25, 2020 at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/testing.html

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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