San Diegans get at-home COVID-19 tests at no up-front cost

Posted at 6:07 PM, Jun 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-12 21:49:49-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Just a few weeks ago, coronavirus testing was hard to come by. But now, many San Diegans are finding it easier to get tested. Some are purchasing at-home test kits online, at no up-front cost.

Raechel Kadoya is not a clinician, nor is she at a doctor's office. She is the co-owner of Soichi Sushi, giving herself a COVID-19 test.

"I want to take advantage of being proactive," Kadoya said as she swabbed her nose.

Since the modified re-opening of her restaurant in University Heights, she and her staff have been cautious about coronavirus exposure. That is why she ordered the Pixel by Labcorp at-home COVID-19 test kit for her entire staff.

"I think that it is my responsibility as a business owner, not only to my staff but to my customers and my family, to make sure that everybody is doing business here safely," Kadoya said.

This is the staff's second round of testing. Kadoya said the first one required multiple doctors referrals just to get a drive-through appointment an hour away.

"We were able to find a place in Lake Elsinore, so we all had to drive up there," Kadoya said.

Dr. Abi Olulade, a family medicine physician at Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, said the accessibility of these at-home tests is a big draw.

"It definitely is something that is very convenient for consumers," Dr. Olulade said.

But she suggested customers do their homework before they order.

"They should be looking at whether or not the tests that they are using have been FDA authorized, and it's not just some random test that they found on the internet," Dr. Olulade said.

As of June 12, 2020, seven at-home COVID-19 test kits have the FDA's emergency use authorization. They are:

Phosphorus Diagnostics
P23 Labs
Rutgers University Lab
Quest Diagnostics

To get this authorization, the FDA requires at-home tests to have 95% accuracy in detecting positive results and 100% accuracy in detecting negative results.

Insurance covered the upfront costs for Kadyoa's staff. But for those without insurance, some tests are covered by federal funds.

From an accessibility and affordability stand-point, Kadoya said this is what works best for her.

"I want to do this every couple of weeks as maintenance," Kadoya said.

Dr. Olulade also said to make sure the labs doing the testing also have CLIA certification, which sets national standards for accuracy, quality, and reliability.