“While there was a bit of a lull in awareness and diligence, now people are seeing these numbers. They’re having family members who are being affected,” said Matthew Binnicker, the director of Clinical Virology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “There’s kind of this renewed sense of urgency, ‘Hey, we better get tested if we think we’ve got a close contact or if we have any symptoms.’ ”
Several at-home coronavirus test kits have received emergency-use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration and can be purchased without a prescription online or from drugstores, giving people access to a much more convenient testing option. “You have the result in 15 minutes and you don’t need to go anywhere,” said Clare Rock, an infectious-disease physician and associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She added, “People have the autonomy to take some of this into their own hands.”
But experts emphasized the tests are not 100 percent accurate and a negative result shouldn’t be thought of as a “free pass.” Here’s what else you need to know about home tests and what the results can — and can’t — tell you.