How to use at-home covid tests and where to find them

At-home covid-19 tests kits sit on a table before being handed out at a distribution site on Dec. 30 in Youngstown, Ohio. (AP Photo/David Dermer)

As millions of Americans navigate life disrupted by the easily transmissible omicron variant, public officials are urging them to view at-home antigen tests as an important tool to stem the surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

But the tests, which are designed to quickly tell a person if they’re infected, have become harder to find. In an effort to increase access, the federal government has launched a website where Americans can order free test kits.

At the same time, however, emerging research is raising concerns about the efficacy of some rapid antigen tests and their ability to detect omicron — though evaluations of performance are ongoing.

They relied on rapid coronavirus tests to gather safely. Some wish they hadn’t.

Here’s what else you need to know about home tests — how they work, where to get them and when to take them. The information and recommendations in this FAQ are drawn from the Food and Drug Administration, previously published Washington Post reports and new interviews with experts.

Please keep in mind that as the pandemic evolves, information about testing options is likely to change.

Here’s what you need to know about these at-home tests, including where to get them, how they work and when to take them. (Video: The Washington Post)