How accurate are at-home COVID tests?

If the CDC’s guide on self-testing is any authority to heed, a positive test result from a rapid take-home test should be considered just as valid as a positive test from a clinician or any other authorized provider.

Negative results, on the other hand, should, in some cases, be taken with a grain of salt. Some may need to validate a negative result with an additional, confirmatory RT-PCR test from a lab. It’s another errand to run, but the guarantee, to many, is well-worth the hassle.

If you’re testing for COVID because you’ve been exposed, we can certainly recommend going immediately for a molecular test in lieu of a preliminary test at home. There are many possible circumstances where a take-home kit is more than sufficient, however. Interpret your results with care, and always abide by what those asking for a negative result require.

When to choose a take-home test

Is a take-home COVID-19 test ever the best move to make? If it’s CDC-approved, it’s likely able to make the grade.

You might consider an at-home COVID test if any of the following apply to you:

  • You’re symptomatic
  • You’ve been exposed
  • You’re preparing to visit somebody susceptible or immunocompromised
  • You plan on attending a large indoor event
  • You would like to travel and have access to a travel-approved instant test

The logistics of testing will also likely weigh in heavily on the test that you end up taking—thankfully, rapid tests are now abundantly available through large-scale efforts like ours, but things haven’t always been this easy. Those who are already very ill are advised to choose an RT-PCR test, as are most who would like to travel internationally.

For testing large groups of people quickly and efficiently and even just testing yourself because you’re worried, self-administered rapid-result tests have been shown to be extremely capable in their own rights.

What if the test didn’t work?

Invalid home test results should simply be tossed out—for one reason or another, the test didn’t work. Simply grab another one and start over.

An invalid test may take one of many forms:

  • A test with conflicting indicators activated
  • A test that yields no results after more than an hour

There’s usually little to worry about if an instant-read COVID test doesn’t deliver, aside from perhaps acquiring a new one to take its place. Always ensure that the test you take home is authorized by the CDC for COVID-19 testing and not expired, tampered with, or open in any way.

When in doubt, you can count on us

And, if you’re still not sure what type of COVID-19 test is best for your circumstances?

The right advice will see you through—Covid Clinic is your trusted source for CDC-approved COVID-19 testing. Let our team of COVID experts guide you to the COVID test that you need.

Still have questions?

Gone are the days of crowded waiting rooms, daunting hospitals, and cold exam tables. At Rume, we offer care on your terms, where and when you need it, including telemedicine, drive thrus, and popups. You’ll get quick results and trusted insights.