At-Home Rapid COVID Testing

At-Home Rapid COVID-19 Testing


What are self-tests?

Self-tests also called home tests or over-the-counter tests, are COVID-19 tests that can be taken anywhere and produce rapid results.

These tests are often sold or given directly to individuals and can be used by people at their homes, or any location. They do not need to be performed in a doctor’s office or COVID testing site.

The results are ‘rapid’ or available right away. No samples need to be sent to a lab.

More information on self-tests can be found here

How can I get at-home tests delivered to my house?

There are two main ways you can receive at-home tests:

  • Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests through a Federal ordering program. You can place your order here
  • Civic Works will deliver test kits to homebound individuals with one or more symptoms of COVID-19.
    • Homebound testing is offered by Civic Works. Baltimore residents who are homebound can request a COVID-19 rapid test kit if they currently have symptoms of COVID-19 and face a barrier to transportation. Residents are considered homebound if they have access and functional needs, an illness, or mobility issues that prevent them from leaving their home.
    • Call 410-929-5448
    • Monday through Friday, 9 AM – 6 PM
    • Leave a message and include your name, address, phone number, and if you need assistance in administering the test. Tests will be distributed within 24-48 hours, Monday through Saturday. There is no delivery on Sundays.

What types of self-tests does Baltimore City Health Department distribute?

Currently, Baltimore City is distributing one of four brands of self-tests:  Abbot BinaxNowAcon FlowFlex, DiaTrust Celltrion, and iHealth.

All four of these tests are rapid antigen tests that can be done at home by individuals.

All four of these tests can be used for people with and without symptoms, regardless of vaccination status.

More information on each test, including instructions on how to use them and links to videos on how to use them, are below.

 

Type of At-Home Test

 

Acon FlowFlex

Abbot BinaxNow

DiatTrust Celltrion iHealth

Type of test

Rapid Antigen test

Rapid Antigen test

Rapid Antigen Test Rapid Antigen Test

What ages can use this test?

  • 14 years or older
  • Test kit can be used for children as young a 2 years old when samples are collected by an adult
  • 15 years or older
  • Test kit can be used for children as young as 2 years old when samples are collected by an adult
  • 14 years or older
  • Test kit can be used for children as young as 2 years old when samples are collected by an adult

Sample collection

Nose swab at front of the nose

Nose swab at front of the nose

Nose swab at middle of nose

Nose swab at front of nose

How long does it take for results to be ready

15 minutes

15 minutes

15 minutes

15 minutes

How many kits are in each box?

1 kit per box

2 kits per box

2 kits per box

2 kits per box

How do I use the kits in someone with symptoms of COVID-19?

Best used within 7 days of when symptoms started

Best used within 7 days of when symptoms started

Best used within 7 days of when symptoms started

Best used within 7 days of when symptoms started

How do I use the kits in someone without symptoms of COVID-19?

Only 1 kit is needed. Repeat testing, or serial testing, is not needed for FlowFlex

Use twice over 3 days, with at least 24 hours and no more than 48 hours between tests.

 

(Use one card on day 1, and the second card on day 3.)

Use twice over 3 days, with at least 24 hours and no more than 48 hours between tests.

 

(Use one card on day 1, and the second card on day 3.)

Use twice over 2 days, with at least 24 hours and no more than 48 hours between tests. (Use one card on day 1, and the second card on day 2 or 3).

How do I use the Acon FlowFlex test?

Click for instructions for the Acon FlowFlex ENGLISH SPANISH

Click here for videos on how to use the Acon FlowFlex test kit 

Click here for the FlowFlex Quick Reference Guide

How do I use an Abbot BinaxNOW™ test?

Click for instructions for the Abbot BinaxNow ENGLISH SPANISH 

Click here for videos on how to use the Abbot BinaxNow test kit

(Scroll to the bottom of the page)

How do I use a Diatrust Celltrion test?

Click for instructions for the Diatrust Celltrion ENGLISH SPANISH 

Click here for videos on how to use the Diatrust Celltrion test (scroll mid-way through the page) 

How do I use an iHealth test?

Click for instructions for the iHealth test kits ENGLISH SPANISH

Click here for videos on how to use the iHealth test (scroll mid-way through the page)

How can I report the results of my rapid test kit?

How to report results for rapid test kits

Acon FlowFlex

Abbot BinaxNow

DiaTrust Celltrion

iHealth

Maryland Department of Health At-Home Test Result Portal

 

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

NAVICA App

Download the free NAVICA app and follow instructions for reporting results through the app. You can search for NAVICA by Abbott in the Apple or Android app store, or register for a free account.

 

Yes

No

No

No

Call positive results to Baltimore City Health Department COVID Call Center

 443-984-8650

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

How can I get a free at-home COVID test kit?

Baltimore City Health Department is distributing COVID test kits through several pathways:

At all locations, test kits are available in limited quantities, on a first-come-first-served basis.

Who should use a self-test?

You can use a self-test if you have any COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Even if you don’t have symptoms or have not been exposed to COVID-19, using a self-test before gathering indoors with others can give you information about the risk of spreading COVID-19. This is especially important before gathering with unvaccinated children, older individuals, those who are immunocompromised, or individuals at risk of severe disease.

The test kit is designed for personal use only. If you need a documented result for travel, employment, return to school, or other purposes, you should verify whether or not this test will satisfy the testing requirement. 

Please be aware of the expiration date on the test kit.

What is the difference between at-home tests and other COVID tests?

Most self-tests are rapid antigen tests. A Rapid Antigen test looks for certain proteins of the virus, which help determine if someone is infectious, or likely to transmit the virus to others.

A PCR test looks for the genetic material of the virus. It is the best test for a highly accurate diagnosis.

More information is available on the different types of testing here:

Where can I get a PCR test?

You can find testing locations here:

Find out where you can get a PCR test

What should I do if I test positive?

A positive test result indicates you likely are infected with COVID-19, regardless of your vaccination status. Even if you have no symptoms and feel well, you should assume you are contagious. Next steps:

  1. ISOLATE at home. Stay away from others for a minimum of 5 days, and wear a mask when around others for at least a total of 10 days.

Instructions on how long to isolate are here:

Note: Individuals living in congregate settings are recommended to isolate for 10 days.

If you live are unable to isolate where you live, Baltimore City offers isolation assistance for which information can be found here:

2. REPORT YOUR RESULTS. See the instructions above about how to report your test results.

Report positive test results to the Maryland Department of Health or call the COVID Call center at 443-984-8650.

By reporting your results the Health Department will be able to:

  • Provide you with specific instructions on isolation
  • Connect you to resources to help with isolation or quarantine, such as assistance with food or housing, if needed
  • Notify your close contacts in a confidential manner of their potential exposure to COVID-19 and provide them with guidance on if they should quarantine

3. Contact your healthcare provider. Seek follow-up care from your healthcare provider as soon as possible, as you may need additional testing and treatment. Monitor your symptoms and if you have emergency warning signs, seek emergency medical care.

4. Answer the call. If you are called by contact tracers and see “MD COVID” on your phone, answer the call. More information about COVID can be found here:


What should I do if I test negative?


If your test is the Abbott BinaxNOW™, you should use the second test in your kit to test again at least 24 hours, and no longer than 48 hours, after the first test.

If your test is the Flowflex™ test, you do not need to take another test in 1-2 days.

A negative result means the virus that causes COVID-19 is not found in your specimen.  It likely means that you do not have COVID-19 if you took the test while you had symptoms and followed all instructions carefully.

However, it is possible for a test to give a negative result in some people who have COVID-19 (this is called a false negative). You could also test negative if the specimen was collected too early in your infection. In this case, you could test positive later during your illness.

 Where can I get a COVID vaccine?

Up to date information about vaccination including weekly schedules for COVID vaccination and boosters can be found here:

 

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