LUBBOCK, Texas–As Omicron surges around the country, the White House launched a new website Tuesday that will let anyone order at-home COVID-19 tests and have them shipped to their front door free of charge.
“What we know is that we are going to have to use every tool in our tool box to reduce that spread as much as we can during this time period,” said U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.
In just a few clicks of a button, one set of four COVID tests will be sent, with one set allowed per household.
“We want to keep increasing this because Omicron has generated a big demand and with each day that goes by we should see more and more testing available,” said Dr. Murthy.
But while this widespread at-home testing is becoming available, Lubbock Public Health Director Katherine Wells worries it means some positive cases will now go unreported.
“I do worry about seeing an artificial in our numbers that might not be reflective of what’s going on in the community,” said Wells.
Places like doctors offices are required to report positive COVID tests to the health departments, but with this new tool and more at-home tests, Wells says the health of the community relies on the individual.
“So it’s really important that the public continues to follow those guidelines that are set. We still want to make sure that people who have been exposed know they have been exposed,” said Wells.
Wells also noted that while it’s important to know if you’ve contracted COVID, the at-home tests do have limitations.
“The home tests tend to be very accurate for individuals who are symptomatic. But if you don’t do the swab correctly that doesn’t mean you won’t be positive the next day,” said Wells.
At-home COVID tests can be ordered now by clicking here.