At-home COVID-19 test kits give rapid results, while many local testing sites lag behind

Posted at 12:07 AM, Aug 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-29 00:07:49-04

FORT MYERS, FLa. — As COVID-19 cases surge across the country, testing sites that offer same-day results are getting harder to find, or they are often overbooked. But at-home testing kits may be the solution.

Many COVID-19 testing sites closed after the state department of emergency management contracts with companies like curative to provide rapid antigen tests ran out. Which seemed fine when cases were starting to decrease earlier in the year. But now it's becoming an inconvenience

"I want them immediately because everyone around me is getting it," said Isabella Serrago.

She was getting tested at a cape coral site that only offers the PCR test that takes about two days or more to get results. She says that's too long, not to know if you are infected.

"I looked for a rapid test, but everywhere that I went, I couldn't find them, or the test was over a hundred dollars," she said.

Many of the testing sites in southwest Florida are only providing PCR tests or are booked days out for the antigen test. Sam Patel, owner of carrell pharmacy, says people should try the at-home kits because they offer results in minutes

"Everywhere that i can look, whether it is the big stores or the county health department, all appointments are booked for the same day. So, people are just roaming around to find the test," he said. "So, it will be good to keep one or two COVID test kits at home so that you can check yourself or family members right at home."

Patel says the at-home test aren’t as sensitive as the PCR test, so there's a chance you could get a false negative. But they give a pretty accurate result.

"If you compare with the PCR tests, yes PCR test are more reliable than they are not wrong at all. I mean, it gives you quite a bit of reliability," he said. "I would say if I have to put a percentage, it could be like close to 90 or a higher percentage."

There are online videos that can show you how to use the kit, but Patel says they are pretty simple to figure out.

You can find these at-home kits at pharmacies near you or online for between 25-50 dollars.