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Guidance on the Use of COVID-19 Antigen Test Kits

New York State has provided all school districts with antigen test kits. Each kit includes two tests. Outlined below is guidance about when an at-home COVID-19 test is recommended.
 
Test Yourself If...
Timing
You have any COVID-19 symptoms Immediately.

A negative antigen test does not rule out COVID-19 infection. To best detect infection, a negative antigen test should be repeated at least 48 hours apart (known as serial testing). Sometimes a follow-up laboratory molecular-based test (PCR) may be recommended to confirm an antigen test result.

You were exposed to someone with COVID-19 Immediately. If negative, then test again 48 hours later, then 48 hours after the second negative test, for a total of at least three tests.
You are going to an indoor event or a gathering Immediately before the gathering, or as close to the time of the event as possible.

This is especially important before gathering with individuals at risk of severe disease, older adults, those who are immunocompromised, or people who are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines, including children who cannot get vaccinated yet.

  • Positive results from self-tests are highly reliable.
  • Negative results from self-tests do not rule out SARS-CoV-2 infection. A negative self-test result may not be reliable, especially if you have symptoms associated with COVID-19.
  • Invalid results from self-tests mean the test did not work properly, and a new test is needed to get an accurate result.

Should your child test positive from a self-administered antigen test, you should:

  • immediately isolate them for 5 days from the positive test result or the onset of symptoms, whichever occurs first;
  • complete and submit this form to report your positive result to the Tompkins County Health; and
  • notify your child’s school. 

If symptoms develop or worsen, contact your healthcare practitioner and seek additional care. Continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others for an additional 5 days following self-isolation.

Sources:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Self-Testing At Home or Anywhere
At-Home COVID-19 Antigen Tests-Take Steps to Reduce Your Risk of False Negative Results: FDA Safety Communication