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San Diego elected and medical officials weigh in on impact of new at-home COVID test website

Posted at 6:14 AM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 09:14:27-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A new website created by the White House allows Americans to get four at-home COVID tests shipped right to their doorstep.

San Diego leaders and health officials said it's an important step in trying to stop the spread of COVID.

"I actually went online to see how difficult the process was. And it was very quick and very simple,” said County Supervisor Nora Vargas.

"If you test and that you're aware, the more that you're aware the more you're able to participate in defeating this virus,” said Dr. William Tseng, with Kaiser Permanante San Diego

The free tests are coming amid a surge in cases.

While people might be testing at home and not at public testing sites, there's a possibility of them not reporting their positive cases — resulting in an under-reporting of total COVID cases.

"That is definitely a possibility. And that's where we have to weigh the risks and benefits. For us, in terms of public health, it's better for us to know so you stop the transmission,” Tseng said. “The reporting is really for us how to gauge how things are going. But the other way to gauge is very simple looking at hospitalization rates and death rates."

Tseng said those who do test at home should contact their primary care providers or local public health officers if they test positive with new at-home tests.

"If you report it, you're able to tell other people, warn them ahead of time, and make sure that they're also tested,” Tseng said.

He adds notification systems like CA Notify are also important to utilize with at-home testing.

Vargas told ABC 10News the more data that on hand can help make better decisions moving forward.

"We need to do away with the stigma of what it means to have COVID,” Vargas said. "Informing folks that you have tested positive and informing the county that you have tested positive is a positive tool so that we can keep our community safe."

The White House's website states that these at home test are completely free and order usually ship within seven to 12 days.

San Diego County's website states that people should follow the instructions recommended in their at-home test when it comes to reporting.