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Everything you’re asking us about at-home COVID testing

Feb 18, 2022 | Latest News, Public Health

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Reporting your at-home test results is now easier than ever! The Benton-Franklin Health District has developed a simple online self-reporting form that can be accessed from the district’s web page in both English and Spanish on any of the District’s COVID web pages in the top magenta bar.

In January, Benton-Franklin Health District reported a record 20,538 new COVID-19 cases — and that may have been the tip of the iceberg.

This is due, in part, to the number of at-home COVID-19 tests that have been distributed since the virus’ highly infectious omicron variant arrived last month. Healthcare facilities and laboratories are required by law to report COVID-19 test results to state and local public health officials, but people who take at-home tests do not have that same requirement. Although, as a member of the general public, you are not required to report at-home test results, doing so can open up resources for you and your family and helps public health to refine our decision making and guidance as we try to make an impact on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reporting your at-home test results is now easier than ever! The Benton-Franklin Health District has developed a simple online self-reporting form that can be accessed from the district’s web page in both English and Spanish on any of the District’s COVID web pages in the top magenta bar.

In addition to reporting your test results to public health, it may be helpful to have a conversation with your primary physician to discuss recommended treatments or therapies. Also, remember to discuss your results with your employer, school, or housemates because living or working in certain settings may require extended isolation.

And lastly, up-to-date isolation and quarantine advice can be located here. The latest guidance recommends you follow the measures listed below.

A positive result from an at-home test means that the test detected the virus, and it is very likely that the person tested has COVID-19. Take good care of yourself.

  • Stay home and isolate from others for at least five days.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days
  • Do not travel for at least 10 days
  • Alert people who spent time around you. You or your family can protect people you spent time with. Anyone who was around you a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while you were contagious is a close contact. WA Notify feature on a smartphone can be used to anonymously notify close contacts. Visit WA Notify for instructions.
  • CDC recently shortened the recommended isolation and quarantine periods to 5 days, followed by 5 more days wearing a mask around others. The change is based on the COVID-19 contagious period: 2 days before symptoms start until 2 days after. We hope the shorter period will help more people to follow it. We know that the best way to reduce the spread of any contagious illness is to keep it away from others.
  • People who need assistance to isolate at home can call the Care-2-Connect Hotline at 1-833-453-0336.

If the test is negative, it means the virus that causes COVID-19 was not detected by the test but it does not rule out a COVID-19 infection.  If the result is negative, repeating the self-test within a few days, with at least 24 hours between tests, will increase the confidence that they are not infected with the virus causing COVID-19.

If you’re not vaccinated yet, make an appointment.

Research shows people who have had COVID-19 develop infection-acquired immunity, which helps protect them from reinfection. That’s great news!

But in some cases, people get infected again and some become seriously ill. Even if you’ve had COVID-19, up-to-date vaccination provides the best protection against serious illness and death in the future. Since the beginning of December, unvaccinated people in Washington are up to 14 times more likely to be hospitalized. Once you’ve recovered and met the criteria for ending isolation, you can get vaccinated.

While at-home tests are convenient, they are not 100% reliable, especially for those who do not have symptoms. That’s why it’s important to protect yourself from COVID-19 in other ways — like getting your COVID-19 vaccine and booster, wearing your mask in public, washing your hands, enabling WA Notify on your smartphone, and avoiding large gatherings.

Test Yourself If…

Timing

You have any COVID-19 symptoms
Immediately
You were exposed to someone with COVID-19
At least 5 days after your exposure.
If you test negative for COVID-19, consider testing again 1 to 2 days after your first test
You are going to an indoor event or a gathering
Immediately before the gathering, or as close to the time of the event as possible.
This is especially important before gathering with individuals at risk of severe diseaseolder adults, those who are immunocompromised, or people who are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines, including children who cannot get vaccinated yet.

 

 

 

 

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