How to Report Home Covid Test Results to Local Health Agencies

Earlier this week, the United States reported a record one million new cases of Covid daily – and that may be just the tip of the iceberg.

This is due, in part, to the skyrocketing number of home Covid tests that have been sold since the highly infectious omicron variant of the virus arrived in the United States last month. Clinics and medical offices are required by law to report Covid test results to state and local public health officials, but people who take tests at home are not – and many of those test results go unreported.

Now, many health experts are encouraging people to report positive home tests to public health agencies in their state to help planning for the pandemic response in their area, which includes guidelines for contact tracing and The maskresistant.

“In general, the more information public health agencies have, the better,” said Dr. Dwayne breining, executive director of New Hyde Park, New York-based Northwell Health Labs, told CNBC Make It.

Typically, according to Breining, home Covid test kits provide information on how to report your results. But because every state and local practices are different, you’ll need to check your state and county health department websites.

Some local health services, such as in Marin County, California and Tompkins County, New York – have simple online self-declaration forms. The Washington DC Department of Health also has a IPhone functionality and the Android application, launched on Christmas Eve, in addition to its self-declaration web portal.

If your test is positive and you don’t report it, you can make it harder for your county to track cases and make health recommendations. Numbers of underreported cases could lead health agencies to prematurely recommend relaxing their Covid restrictions, like masking or social distancing guidelines, which could potentially put the lives of others at risk.

People should also report any positive home test results to their GP, says Dr Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. This can help them “get personal advice on therapies that may be available and help them with their health care,” says Benjamin.

Omicron’s symptoms may be milder than those of the delta variant of Covid, but the delta is still circulating in the United States – and you’re unlikely to know which version you have right away. Your health care provider can help you understand the signs and symptoms to look out for once you get a positive result, says Dr Timothy Brewer, professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

“The provider may also recommend treatments for people at high risk for serious illness,” Brewer said.

Register now: Be smarter about your money and career with our weekly newsletter

Don’t miss:

Why Covid Vaccine Booster Injections Are So Important: Omicron Will ‘Shred The Population’, Says Expert

Covid mix-and-match vaccine recalls are here – How to choose the best one for you

Antibodies aren’t everything – Covid vaccines have another secret weapon to fight omicron