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Where vaccination rates are low, experts look to at-home tests to help prevent COVID spread

Francesca Chambers, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in News & Features

Adams said screenings could be conducted at doctors offices, hospitals, community and health clinics, in addition to schools.

“It can’t be wait for people to self prevent, it has got to be, hey we’re going to test one out of every 1,000 people who walk through this door, or who come into this institution,” he said, “and that will give us a good idea as to what percentage of them are testing positive for COVID and what percentage of those who test positive are carrying which variant.”

Multiple companies are now producing FDA-approved, self-administered tests that can be purchased commercially for about $20 for a two-test package and can produce results within minutes.

Some states are also providing at-home tests to their residents free of cost.

The Iowa Department of Health announced plans this month to close its drive-through testing centers in favor of free access for the state’s residents to self-administered tests. Iowans can either pick up a test at an authorized location or have one sent to them, submit the test through UPS and receive their results by email.

Missouri residents can also have tests sent to them for free. Those tests must be submitted through a FedEx site, and the state promises results within two days by email.

 

County public health departments, Federally Qualified Health Centers and schools could also play a pivotal role in dispensing self-administered tests to families who can’t afford to buy the tests, experts said.

Giroir said the Biden administration should “flood the zone with home tests” to areas where COVID-19 cases are increasing and hand out tests while encouraging people to get vaccinated.

“If they’re going door-to-door about vaccination, they should be dropping off tests to all the places that they’re going,” Giroir said.

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(McClatchy White House correspondent Bryan Lowry contributed reporting.)

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