As covid-19 infections have skyrocketed across much of the United States, largely driven by the highly contagious delta variant, so have demands for access to testing, including at-home test kits that can answer the urgent question, “Do I have the coronavirus” within a matter of minutes.

As part of a comprehensive plan to combat the pandemic, President Biden recently announced efforts to increase access to at-home testing, including boosting production and reducing the cost of kits. Meanwhile, Google searches for “home coronavirus test” and related queries have sharply risen, closely mirroring the surge in cases, including some breakthrough infections, that have prompted many Americans to return to wearing masks and following pandemic-related restrictions.

“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.