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Local Official Weighs In On Rapid Tests

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Tests are being delivered to Americans' homes

The free Covid-19 rapid tests from the Biden administration are beginning to arrive at people’s homes. WNIN’s Sarah Kuper finds out what local health officials say about the tests and how to use them:

Until this point in the pandemic, the definitive answer on whether or not you are positive for Covid-19 came from a PCR test. Now, even with the arrival of quicker and more convenient rapid tests, local health officials say PCR tests are still the definitive indicator of infection.

If you signed up for the free Covid-19, at home antigen tests through the federal government, they may already be in your mailbox. While these tests are an important tool, Vanderburgh County Health Administrator Joe Gries, says they should be considered a screening tool.

In an email exchange, Gries says when it comes to antigen tests, you can trust a positive result, but if you have symptoms, you shouldn’t trust a negative result. That’s when the more accurate PCR test is needed.

Gries also says there is no requirement to notify the health department of testing positive on an at-home test. So the public Covid-19 dashboards will no longer reflect the true number of cases in the area. But Gries says to an extent that’s always been true because many people throughout the pandemic have been asymptomatic – something that’s even more prevalent with the omicron variant. He says at least now there are vaccines and treatments.