If you take an at-home COVID test and it’s positive, you’re supposed to report it to Colorado officials. Here’s how

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
A COVID-19 rapid test in the lab at the Denver Indian Health and Family Services clinic in Sun Valley. Nov. 24, 2020.

Rapid take-home antigen tests have become scarce during the holiday season as people worried about spreading COVID-19 search for quick ways to detect the virus. 

Tests can be purchased at many pharmacies (although good luck finding them), but Coloradans can also apply to get free tests from the Colorado Department of Public Health, though its inventory is also limited. When applying, people are asked to submit test results through an online portal – regardless of its outcome. 

However, CDPHE believes people are stockpiling tests instead of using them right away. It could be weeks before someone feels they need to take a test they purchased, meaning the link to the online portal could be long forgotten. 

If you test positive using an at-home antigen test, whether it’s state-provided or not, the CDPHE requests you do five things.

  • Isolate for at least five days.
  • Contact your healthcare provider for treatment options.
  • Report your results on the At-Home Testing Portal.
  • Inform close contacts.
  • Update your status in the Colorado Exposure Notification app, if using

To report results on the testing portal, you have to register for an account. That will require you to provide the name and address of your “facility,” which can be your place of residence. 

Negative results can be reported, but it is not mandatory. CDPHE says self-reported results will help with contact tracing efforts. About 350,000 rapid test results have been reported since they first became available. 

“We want individuals to report their positive rapid at-home results because it helps us obtain important information about possible close contacts and provide important information about possible treatment options and guidance for isolation and quarantine,” a CDPHE spokesperson said. 

 The CDC recommends people take an at-home test if they experience COVID-19 symptoms or if they may have been exposed to a positive case. False negatives could occur if testing is done early on in an infection. 

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