First at-home COVID-19 test kits have arrived, here's what you need to know

NOW: First at-home COVID-19 test kits have arrived, here’s what you need to know

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58)-- The first coronavirus at-home test kit is now here.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted an Emergency Use Authorization to LabCorp, who came out with a nasal swab test kit that’s shipped to your home.

The COVID-19 test kits through Pixel by LabCorp will be available to the public through online orders in the coming weeks. The company will first distribute the tests to healthcare workers and first responders who need them.

The FDA says the at-home tests should be as safe and accurate as doctor’s offices, hospitals and testing facilities. Area doctors are also expecting it to be reliable.

“They’re a very reputable company and they have very high standards, so I would expect it to be a good product,” said Dr. John Raymond, President and CEO of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Samples for testing are collected by a cotton swab up the nose, test takers will then overnight their sample to the lab and wait for results.

Dr. Ben Weston says new products coming out on the market could help the area move from reactive testing because of limited supplies to more proactive testing.

“We certainly are reviewing all the new different testing methods that are coming out as we look to rapidly ramp up our testing capacity and our ability to test all folks who are symptomatic,” said Dr. Ben Weston with Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says expanding testing ability is critical to opening the city. 

“As to what we need to do to get back to normalcy, we know at the top of that list is greatly expanded testing,” said Mayor Barrett.

People who want the test will need to answer a short online survey and get it approved by LabCorp’s team of doctors. 

While at-home tests may increase testing capacity, doctors say it’s important that data from the tests are used properly.

“It would be best if the information would be available in a public database so we could just know what’s going on with the individual, but we could also give them good guidance and aggregate all that data so we could have better informed public policy,” said Dr. Raymond.

“As we continue to increase the number of tests we do, naturally we’ll see more positive cases as a result of a large amount of testing,” said Dr. Weston. “So we are working on a better way to represent that based on the percent of positive tests we see.”

LabCorp based out of Burlington, North Carolina says they do plan to report COVID-19 test results to public health agencies if required.

While convenient, the at-home test kit does come at a price, each kit is priced at $119 and it will not be billed to your insurance company. Test results come back in one to two days.

For more information, click here.

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