Wisconsinites can request free at-home COVID-19 test kit

Posted at 5:43 PM, Dec 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-22 19:40:00-05

Governor Tony Evers, along with state health officials, announced Tuesday that people in Wisconsin could request free at-home COVID-19 test kits.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services said this adds another layer to making tests more widely available, especially to those that may face challenges getting to a community testing site or clinic.

The new contract is with Vault Medical Services. Health Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm did not have costs readily available, but said it would depend on how many tests are requested. State officials said costs will be covered by insurance or the state.

The company's website states one at-home COVID-19 saliva test costs $119.

Wisconsinites can request a test through the DHS website. It will take you to Vault's site where you can enter your information.

The saliva test kit comes with detailed instructions and requires a virtual call with a test supervisor. The kit then goes to a lab for processing and results are delivered by email.

Palm said turnaround time should be comparable to other PCR testing sites.

Dr. Ben Weston with Milwaukee County's Office of Emergency Management noted the tests may not be as sensitive as others, and could provide false negatives or positives.

"Nonetheless, it is an added layer of testing, and for large population-based testing...I think it'll be a benefit," said Dr. Weston.

However, Palm said the at-home tests will have the same level of accuracy as those at community testing sites and clinics.

"This is a PCR test so even though the mechanism of the test is different from the nasal swab you might get in a clinic or one of our community testing sites it has the same level of accuracy," said Palm.

Click here to request an at-home test kit.

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Coronavirus in Wisconsin

More data on Wisconsin's vaccination progress here.

Find a vaccination site here.

Check out county-by-county coronavirus case numbers here.

More information: COVID-19 on the Wisconsin DHS website

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