Public Health Considerations for COVID-19 Home-based / Self-tests

A variety of home-based COVID-19 tests are available. While all involve self-collection of specimens, some test kits require a prescription and others are over-the-counter (OTC), also referred to as self-tests. Some collections/testing are observed by a telehealth provider, some involve self-collection but are sent to a laboratory for processing, and others use self-collection and self-testing without any involvement of a healthcare provider.

While home-based tests offer accessible and affordable testing options, test results may not be reported to public health authorities, thereby relying on the individual to self-isolate for the recommended period of time and to notify contacts of possible exposure.

Additionally, the use of home-based tests without the oversight of a healthcare provider or laboratory pose challenges when determining public health actions.

Contact the Communicable Disease Service at for guidelines.

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