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Coronavirus testing: How to get the first FDA-approved at-home test

One of the most frustrating parts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the availability of testing kits. Even in regions where tests are plentiful, doctors still advise people with mild symptoms to stay home rather than come in and confirm their status.

If someone is potentially infectious, the last thing you want them to do is visit a place with sick and vulnerable people. Still, a lack of testing has left millions of people in the dark about the steps they should take for self-isolation and quarantine. Tap or click here to see the COVID-19 symptoms you need to be aware of.

But all that may change thanks to efforts from LabCorp. It finally has regulator approval to release an at-home test kit for COVID-19. Here’s when you can expect it, as well as how you can get your hands on the test for yourself.

LabCorp clears the regulator gauntlet

According to reports from the Associated Press, American health regulators have finally cleared the path for LabCorp’s at-home COVID-19 test to be administered across the U.S.

The test had previously been in the evaluation stage for months, but the urgency surrounding the COVID-19 crisis has expedited the process. Tap or click here to see other at-home tests in the works right now.

This would be the first major test allowing people to collect their own samples at home, which would greatly expand access to testing during state-wide social distancing. It would also have the benefit of conserving protective equipment for healthcare workers since they would no longer need to use them for testing patients.

To perform the test, users will collect a sample on their own from their nostrils with an included cotton swab. The swab will be placed in a sealed container and shipped back to LabCorp for processing. And with multiple laboratories across the U.S., this will help speed up turnaround times for patient results.

These confidential results will later be hosted on a secure, encrypted website for patients to access with a unique username and password. This will be created at the time users sign up for the test.

Right off the bat, the LabCorp test will only be available to healthcare workers and first responders. Access is expected to grow in the coming months, however. No specific release date has been set, but material released by LabCorp indicates it’s a matter of weeks rather than months. The tests will cost $119 per kit.

I’m curious about my status. How do I get a hold of one of these tests?

As we mentioned, access will be initially limited to front line medical workers, who face a significantly higher risk of infection due to their work with contagious patients. In a matter of weeks, availability will expand beyond healthcare workers, but you will still need a doctor’s note confirming a test is right for you.

To keep yourself as safe as possible, we recommend speaking with a doctor via video chat — a process known as “telemedicine.” This will prevent you from germ exposure in a hospital or office setting, and will also help protect the doctor from any germs you might be carrying. Tap or click here to see how Google can help you find remote doctors.

When the tests are available, you’ll visit LabCorp’s website and take a questionnaire to determine whether or not a test is right for you. If the questionnaire rules “yes,” you’ll provide your doctor’s note and pay for your test online. It will be shipped to your house directly.

Since LabCorp’s web pages for the test kits and questionnaires are not yet available, we’d recommend visiting LabCorp’s website and subscribing to its COVID-19 updates page. This will deliver you news on LabCorp’s test products and efforts as they come in.

In addition, we’ll be updating this story with more details on purchasing and using your test once it has widespread availability.

In the meantime, keep an eye on your symptoms without panicking, and make sure to get lots of rest and fluids. Just like a normal cold or flu, COVID-19 can be extremely dehydrating. Plus, a lack of rest can weaken the immune system.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and most importantly, stay indoors. Thankfully, this new test makes it that much easier.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, advice, or health objectives.

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