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(October 12, 2021) – With the availability of over-the-counter COVID tests growing, many people are opting to test at home for reasons ranging from travel, to convenience, to urgency if they are feeling ill.
Since at-home tests are administered privately, individuals may have questions about protocol related to positive tests or potential false negatives. It is important that Public Health is involved in the process to ensure proper support while containing the spread of COVID in the community. Although at-home COVID tests are a convenient option, they are not as accurate as the PCR tests administered through the County. There are differences with the accuracy for positive and negative results for most in-home tests. Individuals who are symptomatic and test negative should still isolate and schedule a test through Public Health or their primary healthcare provider. Sick individuals who test positive with an at-home test are considered infected with COVID and do not require further testing. To effectively protect others that may have been exposed, they should email Public Health immediately at email@example.com and provide full name, date of birth, test date and type. A member of the Public Health team will contact them within 24 hours, and assign a local contact tracer to the individual, provide guidance, and support in isolation. “It’s important that people trust the results when they test positive with at-home tests, and take action immediately rather than wait and retest,” said Public Health Director Grace Franklin. “Their quick response will assist in their recovery, and slow the spread of the virus in our community.” At-home COVID tests can be purchased at a variety of area pharmacies. Free at-home tests for Colorado residents are available through Colorado Department of Health & Environment (CDPHE). Enrollment information can be found at Covid19.Colorado.gov/covid-19-testing-at-home. San Miguel County testing information is available at bit.ly/smccovidtest. Public Health has confirmed a COVID-related death of a 66-year-old male resident. The individual had been treated for several weeks at regional hospitals and passed from complications of the COVID infection. This is the fourth COVID-related death in the county. As of release time today, there have been 1,159 total COVID cases among residents, with 9 active local cases. A full caseload report will be provided in the weekly update on Thursday, October 14.