WTOP’s Mike Murillo puts COVID-19 at-home testing kit to the test

WTOP’s Mike Murillo demonstrates how to use an at-home COVID-19 testing kit.

Last week, I decided I should be tested for the coronavirus, so I chose to try Pixel by LabCorp, a test you can take from home.

To order it, I went to LabCorp’s website and answered a few questions. Once the website decided I was eligible for a test kit, I supplied my insurance and personal information and clicked submit.

According to LabCorp’s website, you can also choose to pay for the test, with the price tag listed as $119. The Food and Drug Administration gave the LabCorp test an emergency use authorization.

The website says if it’s ordered by 3 p.m. you’ll get the test the next day. Lo and behold, the next day, I heard a knock at the door and a small box was waiting on my doorstep.

(Be warned — the packaging makes it quite obvious what you are getting, so your neighbors may be even more careful around you for the next few days if they see it.)

Once I opened the box, the first thing I saw was a warning to register the test before using it. The goal there is for the lab to know if your sample has been out there too long to be used.

This also means, once you start the process, you need to be prepared to not only complete it, but also get the test to a FedEx drop box. So, I registered it, which started the clock for my test.

Once I read the instructions, I also checked out the link to a video tutorial to make sure I understood everything correctly. Then I took the test, rotating the swab three times in one nostril and three in the other.

This test also has a plus, in that it doesn’t go as deep in your nose as the ones available at most testing locations. So, it wasn’t uncomfortable at all.

Once done, the swab goes into a waiting collection tube with a liquid inside. You put the cap on that, put it in a specimen bag, put that in the box you got the test in, and then the box goes into a pre-labeled FedEx envelope.

I chose the day it snowed to take the test, which made the drive to drop box fun, but once inside, the wait began.

It wasn’t a long wait, as the next day I logged onto the test website and the result was in: SARS-CoV-2 “Not Detected.” Great news!

All in all, it was an easy experience using this test, though going to a doctor’s office or collection site may be preferred if you don’t want to go through all the steps of setting up a testing table at home.

According to the Pixel website, if a result is positive, you would receive a phone call from the lab.

Of note: Since I took the test, the Pixel website does say eligibility requirements have been updated due to the nationwide surge in cases.

Currently, tests are being reserved for people experiencing symptoms or those who have been asked to get tested by a health care provider, public health department or contact tracing investigator.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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