NewsPinellas County


Leaders push for at-home COVID testing before the holiday season

Posted at 10:40 AM, Oct 08, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — If you’ve gotten a COVID-19 test in the past year and a half, chances are that you waited in a long line and possibly had to wait days for results.

Right now with COVID-19cases dropping, leaders want that trend to continue. That's leading to a push to make at-home tests more available. That's something USF professor of medicine Dr. Michael Teng said the U.K has been doing for months.

"Providing low-costs or free rapid antigen tests to people is really a necessity and I think we should’ve done it a long time ago," said Dr. Teng.

At-Home COVID-19 test

This week, the Biden administration announced an investment of $1 billion to triple the amount of at-home tests available before the holiday season. Teng said right now, those tests are hard to get your hands on.

"First, there’s the availability problem, the manufacturing has risen and fallen according to demand," said Teng.

The federal funding allows companies to produce more tests in hopes that people will easily be able to get tested before traveling, preventing a spike like the holidays brought on last year.

"We have, what, 57 percent of our population vaccinated that’s still a lot of people out there who are unvaccinated," said Teng.

Teng said there are two different kinds of tests available to consumers: the PCR Tests and Antigen Tests.

In-Depth: Q&A on At-Home COVID-19 tests

Teng said the PCR Tests are more sensitive and can detect COVID-19 early on. Results vary from less than an hour to days, depending on the test. They’re available at retail stores and online and cost anywhere from $80-$100.

The Antigen Tests are best for someone who is already experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Results are available in 15-20 minutes. They’re also available at retail stores and online and cost between $10-$25.

COVID-19 At-Home Tests

ABC Action News reached out to the Hillsborough County Department of Health to find how the At-Home positive tests are recorded by the state and they said, they’re actually not, meaning a lot of cases could go uncounted.

As for knowing when to get a test, even if you are fully vaccinated the CDC recommends getting a test if you have COVID symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.