At-home COVID tests: When to do a rapid test, and when you need a PCR

West Virginia News

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)—When it comes to testing for COVID-19, there has been more talk lately about “at home” testing kits. But there are some challenges associated with them. The Kanawha Charleston Health Department hosted a packed vaccination clinic Wednesday, December 29, 2021. But anyone thinking of doing an “at home” test to skip the lines should keep some things in mind.

“I tried to get one in four places yesterday, and they were all sold out,” said Todd Chapman. He was going to do an “at home” test but instead lined up with hundreds of others for a test at the Kanawha Charleston Health Department’s clinic.

“I’ve been sick for about 12 days and I’ve had a test that came back negative and I’m still sick. So I’d like to know if the first one was maybe incorrect,” Chapman said.

Dr. Sherri Young with the Kanawha Charleston Health Department said the home tests aren’t always as accurate, with more false negatives and false positives than the tests they do at these clinics.

“The home tests are great if you are trying to decide if you are going to go somewhere if you are having symptoms, and you need to know rather quickly,” Dr. Young said. “But it is still always better to follow that up with a PCR especially if you are symptomatic or really need to know for sure.”

The “at-home” tests are also impacting the state’s ability to track COVID-19 cases. Dr. Young said reporting from the at-home tests is sporadic.

“We haven’t worked that piece out with the home testing yet. Some tests will have an app that you can report it and the lab will report it to the state and that is how we found some people and then some people are self-reporting,” Young said. “The problem is we don’t know who is not self-reporting.”

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

West Virginia News

More West Virginia News

Virginia News

More Virginia News

Trending Stories