Chicago Coronavirus

How You Can Get an At-Home Coronavirus Test and What You Should Do When You Get One

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At-home testing is now available for those who wish to take a coronavirus test from inside their homes, Chicago's top public health official said Wednesday.

"At-home testing options continue to grow and expand," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said. "These are now FDA approved home testing possibilities."

Among the options are nasal swab tests by Pixel by LabCorp, everywell or LetsGetChecked or saliva tests from Vault or Vitagene.

"Particularly if you have insurance you are now able to get these at home tests," Arwady said. "This is a good way for you to get testing in your home quickly."

According to the city's website, the self-collected, at-home tests have been authorized by the FDA.

"Usually, you fill out a screening questionnaire and – if you are eligible – you will receive a kit with instructions on how to collect and return your sample," the website reads. "Some tests also include a telehealth consultation and results are usually available 1-3 days later. Some options are available for free, regardless of your insurance or documentation status."

Also on Wednesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved emergency use for the first COVID-19 test that can be conducted entirely at home.

The agency cleared the single-use test, which provides results within 30 minutes, for use by anyone aged 14 and over if their health-care provider suspects they may have COVID-19.

Produced by a privately held, California-based biotech company, Lucira Health, the kit is also eligible for use in hospitals, though patients under 14 must have their sample collected by a health-care provider.

The FDA did not reveal the price of the test. The company's website says the test is "intended to cost less than $50."

Arwady said Chicago officials hope to learn more about the test in the coming days and will release additional guidance as they have it.

Chicago announced new coronavirus testing sites for residents as the city works to ramp up testing measures during a second surge of the virus.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CDPH revealed new locations and changes as the city works to increase its capacity.

“Chicago is setting new testing records every day and it is our highest priority to ensure that testing remains equitably accessible and available to Chicago’s most vulnerable residents,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “We will continue to work with partners and direct resources to the communities who have been hit the hardest by this pandemic.” 

The announcement adds a fourth testing site at Midway Airport.

The city also plans to deploy additional mobile testing units every week to areas "with high incidence of COVID-19." 

For additional options, take a look at the city's interactive testing map to find a testing site. 

Testing is currently recommended for: 

  • people who have symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever or chills, cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, muscle or body aches, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea; 
  • people who have been in contact with someone who is ill, especially if it's someone they live with, a friend or ​a coworker; and 
  • people who have recently participated in a high-risk activity, such as attending a large gathering or crowded space. 
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