You can now test for COVID-19 at home, but is it safe or worth it?

You can now test for COVID-19 at home, but is it safe or worth it?
You can now test for COVID-19 at home, but is it safe or worth it? (Source: WBRC)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - You can now test yourself for COVID-19 from your home. But do they really work? And is it safe? We’re on your side getting answers from the Jefferson County Health Department.

We’re talking about the Pixel by LabCorp at-home COVID-19 test kit.

Basically, you can collect your own sample that you would then mail to a lab for testing.

But Dr. Wesley Willeford, Medical Director of Disease Control for the Jefferson County Department of Health, said they haven’t validated whether this particular at-home test performs as well as the tests used at testing sites across the state.

Dr. Willeford said, in theory, it should perform similarly.

If this at-home test does in fact perform well, that’s great news as it’s another tool in their arsenal to stop the spread.

But until then, Dr. Willeford suggests people continue to get tested at sites available in your county.

He said, with at-home tests, there are concerns of false positives if the user doesn’t collect the sample correctly, and he said you should get results quicker at standing testing sites.

"24–48 hours is going to be the turnaround time if it’s processed locally, that’s assuming you don’t have to ship it somewhere and then wait for the results to come back," he said. "And that’s where I think with the at home testing, you’re going to be at the mercy of the mailman."

Dr. Willeford said overall, he recommends the standing testing sites for quicker results that the department can have confidence in.

He said right now, they just need more time to determine whether they can have confidence in the results from this particular at-home test.

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