At-home COVID-19 test kits pledged by the Biden Administration are being delivered by the U.S. Postal Service and are expected to begin arriving in local mailboxes soon.
The Toliver family is making rounds to their mailbox without much luck.
“We ordered it, and it said it would be arriving soon, but we haven’t gotten it yet, we haven’t gotten the tracking number either,” said Ciara Toliver, waiting for her COVID-19 tests.
Kristee Klein signed up for the kits as soon as the website became live.
“Checking my email, but it’ll get here when it gets here,” said Kristee Klein. “There's an entire country of people waiting for them.”
There are success stories though.
“My mom actually received hers, and she’s up in San Joaquin County,” added Klein.
Locally, at least one family in Lompoc got a tracking number and package the same day.
The Biden Administration pledged to give out 1 billion free at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests and at least 500 million of them will be delivered directly to people’s homes.
“The 650,000 women and men of the United States Postal Service are ready to deliver and proud to play a critical role in supporting the health needs of the American public," said Louis DeJoy, United States Postmaster General, in a statement. “We have been working closely with the Administration and are well prepared to accept and deliver test kits on the first day the program launches.”
Each household is set to receive four tests, but when should they be used?
“When you are going to gather with a group of people, that might be a good time to test because […] you might be in contact with someone who might be at risk of the disease or who aren’t up to date with their vaccines,” recommended Margie Heinen, a Clinical Nursing Supervisor with Tenet Health Central Coast.
If the patient is in close contact with someone who tests positive but does not show any symptoms, Heinen said the patient should “wait five days before testing.”
What happens if a patient tests positive?
“If you’re asymptomatic, you want to stay five days away from people. After those five days, you want to continue wearing your mask for another five days and I would avoid crowds,” explained Heinen.
For those with symptoms, Heinen said self-monitoring is key.
“You want to stay home until your symptoms subside,” added Heinen.
Although re-testing is not a requirement after a positive result, experts say waiting a couple days can help get a more accurate result.
“You want to do it more towards the end of the five-day isolation period, so you have a better reading. Make sure you're fever-free for 24 hours without using any medication to be fever free and that your symptoms have improved,” added Heinen.
Tenet Health Central Coast is recommending those who test positive and have symptoms to use Tele-Health to speak virtually with a nurse to assess if the patient actually needs to go to the emergency room. This step could help reduce the stress on healthcare workers at emergency rooms.
Patients can call (805) 546-7990 to schedule a video call with a healthcare worker.
For those still looking to order a COVID-19 test kit, click here.