At-Home COVID-19 Testing: Getting Tested in the Safety of Your Home

No one needs to be reminded how severe the COVID-19 virus is. In the last week alone, Los Angeles County reported over 25,000 new cases. The coronavirus remains both omnipresent and dangerous in our daily lives.

And yet, human ingenuity continues its steady march in giving us new ways to combat this virus. One of the best ways to remain proactive about COVID-19 is testing. Frequent testing can save lives, especially in areas highly impacted by the coronavirus.

The perfection of the at-home COVID-19 test has made widespread testing an achievable goal. Testing can help us track infection rates and it can also help individuals remain aware of their infection status. It’s a great way to be proactive about safety, and the safety of our loved ones. 

Conducting tests from the comfort of home makes it easy for patients to remain quarantined and still get informed of their personal status. Read on to learn more about the benefits of getting tested at home, and how to use testing to remain vigilant against COVID-19. 

Types of Tests

All tests begin with a questionnaire to assess the patient’s COVID-19 risk and any pre-existing conditions that could make a positive result more complicated. After the questionnaire, the patient sample is collected.

There are several types of viral testing. Molecular tests can detect COVID-19 material in patient samples such as saliva. These tests determine if an infection is currently active. Serological tests detect the level of antibodies in the blood, signifying prior infection.

The molecular tests are further divided into rapid testing and PCR testing. The rapid test detects protein fragments shed by the virus. The process is true to its name, and results are available within 15 minutes.

PCR tests are the most comprehensive COVID-19 tests available. The test detects even small levels of genetic material shed by the coronavirus and can detect the virus within a few days of infection. Results are available about 2-3 days after testing. 

The antibodies test determines prior exposure to the virus. If antibodies are present in the blood, the patient has already recovered from the virus. This test can also verify that antibodies are present after a recent vaccination. The presence of antibodies indicates the level of immunity the patient has to COVID-19. 

Why Get Tested?

COVID-19 testing is a vital part of the fight against the virus. It is an important step to flattening the curve. 

When COVID-19 tests were first introduced, there was a shortage of both testing facilities and the tests themselves. Not enough tests were being conducted, and we had no way to know how and where the virus was spreading. 

Now, our testing capabilities have improved. Tests report results faster and are more widely available. Testing is also more affordable and is often covered by insurance. 

Coronavirus can manifest with a wide range of symptoms. It can also be asymptomatic, resulting in carriers who inadvertently spread the virus. In these cases, a coronavirus test can confirm or deny infection status, so the asymptomatic can isolate as soon as possible. 

Tracing infected individuals can also locate high-risk areas so health organizations can tailor restrictions to manage outbreaks. Considering the severe economic and personal ramifications of policies that are in place, mass testing can have big effects. Until the vaccination rate catches up to the infection rate, viral testing can help limit the pandemic and contain its damage. 

Who Should Get Tested?

The CDC has made several recommendations for who should get tested. All individuals who have come in close contact with infected patients should get tested. Other individuals who have recently participated in high-risk activities such as group gatherings or travel should get tested. 

High-risk and immunocompromised individuals should also engage in regular coronavirus testing to be aware of infection as soon as possible.

However, all individuals can benefit from testing for COVID-19. Coronavirus infection status can change on a day to day basis. Even a simple trip to the store can result in new infections. Regular testing is the best way to remain aware of infection status. 

In short, everyone should test for coronavirus as often as possible.

At-Home COVID-19 Test Services

One of the biggest breakthroughs in testing for COVID-19 is the ability to conduct tests at home. Previously, patients had difficulty understanding if they were qualified to get tested. It was also difficult to locate facilities that offered COVID-19 tests.

Now doctors can schedule appointments at patients’ homes to administer every type of coronavirus test. 

Benefits to Testing at Home

Getting tested at a hospital or a clinic can put health workers and other patients at risk. If infected individuals come in for a test, they can infect nurses and other patients with preexisting conditions. 

If the individual is not infected, they could pick up the virus while at the hospital. This can be risky for the immunocompromised, especially since test results on the day of infection would come back negative. A patient could get tested, receive a negative result, and then pick up the virus on the way out. 

Receiving an at-home COVID-19 test is a great solution to these problems. Testing for coronavirus at home eliminates the risk of transmission and makes it easier to take the proper precautions after the results come back.

Benefits to Testing With a Concierge Doctor

Testing at home is already a big improvement to testing at a hospital. But, it’s even better to take the test through a concierge doctor like House Call MD. Our talented staff can administer tests and guide our patients through the results and treatment process. 

The health of the patient and those around them depends on their test result. Our doctors can make sure the test is done correctly, reducing user error and providing hospital-level accuracy with both convenience and safety. 

Ideally, a concierge doctor can conduct diagnosis, treatment, and recovery all from home. This promotes social distancing and reduces hospital congestion.

Understanding Test Results

Conducting the test through a concierge doctor service allows a doctor to guide the process. Depending on the patient and the outcome, the doctor can create a plan for further testing and treatment. 

Negative Test Results 

A negative test result means the patient is not currently sick with coronavirus.

Sometimes the test can produce a false negative. A false negative occurs when the patient is infected, but the test fails to register the presence of the virus. Testing too early after infection can result in a false negative. Also, when performed improperly, the test can result in a false negative. 

This underscores the benefit of an at-home coronavirus test with a concierge doctor service. Some tests are available by mail, but these tests experience a high level of user error. A test performed by an expert doctor is more likely to be accurate.

Also, a doctor can recommend follow-up testing to make sure a negative result stays negative.

Positive Test Results

If the test is positive, the patient is already isolated and hasn’t left their house for testing. As long as they continue to quarantine, they’ve already helped slow the spread of the virus to the healthy. 

After receiving a positive test, our patients can stay in contact with us to manage and contain their illness. We can answer all questions and arrange the necessary care and hospitalization if necessary. 

Test Safety

All COVID-19 tests have been authorized by the FDA for emergency use. Although test accuracy has not been verified, the FDA recognizes the advantages of widespread testing to manage the public health crisis.

The FDA released a news bulletin in April 2020 that approved all testing at home. They worked together with test manufacturers to ensure that tests conducted at home are just as safe and accurate as tests conducted in a doctor’s office.

In the same update, FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. advocated frequent use of at-home COVID-19 tests. He cited both their accuracy and the ability to take them without going out into public. 

The tests are no more dangerous than getting an oral swab or drawing blood. The biggest risk to the test is the risk of false negatives. A false negative can make a patient confident that they are virus-free, and risk spreading the virus to others. 

Tests conducted by a concierge doctor service are always performed correctly, eliminating user error and reducing false negatives. 

Schedule a Test Today

Taking an at-home COVID-19 test is the best way to stay on top of your infection status from the comfort of home. So don’t wait to take advantage of the innovative solutions that are emerging to combat the pandemic.

House Call MD is a top-quality concierge doctor in LA county. Our tests are convenient, affordable, and conducted by professionals. Reach out to us today to learn more about our services, insurance coverage, and to schedule a test.