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COVID-19 transmission rates are no longer surging around the country, global deaths have hit their lowest rates since 2020, and while an end is in sight, “We are not there yet,” according to World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Last week, the federal government suspended its free, at-home testing program. If you missed out, you may still be able to get a test for free, depending on where you live.
States like Minnesota, Massachusetts and North Carolina are offering residents free, at-home, self-tests through the mail and at participating pharmacies, food banks, health centers and other locations. If you’d rather not wait on snail mail, or risk potentially exposing someone else by buying a test in the store, you can get fast and free shipping on COVID-19 tests, face masks, personal care essentials, and millions of other items at Amazon. The iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test ($17.98) is a No. 1 best-seller on Amazon with over 179,000 customer ratings.
This 15-minute, self-test can be completed in the comfort and privacy of your own home. The rapid test is recommended for ages 15 years and older and is done by inserting a 1/2 to 3/4 inch of sample, non-invasive nasal swab (adult collection is required for children ages 2-14 years old).
In July, the Food and Drug Administration extended the shelf-life of at-home COVID tests from six months to a year. How do you know if your COVID test is expired? According to the FDA, the expiration dates is set at the end of the product’s shelf life, which is “determined by how long the test should work as expected and is measured from the date the test was manufactured.”
The FDA notes that the expiration date “may be extended” in some cases, but only after the “manufacturer provides data showing that the shelf-life is longer than was known when the test was first authorized.”
With fall right around the corner and flu season not too far behind, there could be an uptick in COVID cases by winter. When should you take an at-home COVID test? The CDC recommends that you test immediately if you have symptoms. If you have been exposed to COVID, but might not have symptoms, the CDC recommends testing at least five days after exposure.
For those attending large gatherings or events that require testing (or if you want to take a test as a precaution), the CDC advises that you take the test immediately before a gathering or close the time of the event.
See below for more FDA-authorized at-home COVID-19 diagnostic tests that you can buy online.
BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Self Test $19.88
OraSure InteliSwab At-Home COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test
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