Got at-home tests? Here’s when to use them and when to see a doctor

Free at-home COVID tests from the federal government are being delivered to millions of Americans.
Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 11:56 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Millions of Americans are taking advantage of free at-home COVID test kits distributed by the government, but you may want to know exactly when and how to use them.

Jacob Schafer, an epidemiologist and director of infection control at Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, says at-home testing is best for use with mild symptoms.

At-home testing is also a good option after a large gathering or possible exposure, he said.

And Schafer said if you’re vaccinated and test positive, you don’t need to go to the doctor if your symptoms are mild.

“Omicron is really a whole new COVID. By and large, the majority of people will have a mild infection,” Schafer said.

“They can stay at home and don’t need to go to their health care provider. We really only want you to come in if you are really sick so we can dedicate those services to the people that need it most.”

Health officials advise those with symptoms to follow state Health Department guidelines when returning to work.

Schafer says at-home test kits provided by the federal government are beginning to hit Hawaii mailboxes. If you haven’t ordered tests for your household yet, you can still do so.

Go to to get yours.

“This is really going to be a game changer, allowing people to test quickly, for free at home so they know if they have Omicron and they can stop the spread to others,” added Schafer.

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