Take home COVID-19 tests lead to possible effect on case numbers

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 10:23 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 10, 2022 at 10:46 PM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - At home COVID-19 tests are harder to get a hold of as the Omicron variant is responsible for the rise in COVID-19 cases.

However, a local health expert argues that these tests could skew case numbers.

“Those home test kits; a lot of people are not reporting the results to us,” said Autumn Grim, assistant director of Cape Girardeau County Health Center.

Grim has kept an eye on data of COVID-19 cases since March of 2020.

Now, she said there’s a chance take home COVID-19 tests can skew the number of reported positive COVID-19 cases. She advises people to report their positive results.

“We know that there are a number of cases that don’t get reported to us, either via those home test kits, or some providers aren’t aware the need to actually report,” said Grim.

Those who’ve taken a rapid at home test said the thought of reporting a positive case never crossed their mind, but they are not against it.

“Now that you say that I don’t know if I would have called but it’s definitely the right thing to do for sure,” said Tom Estepp.

“It’s nothing to hide, its worldwide so I don’t take it for a joke,” said Clyde Benson.

At the end of December, the Health Center shifted from posting weekly data of cases in the county to using the Missouri State dashboard.

However, Grim shared the numbers could be low.

“The state dashboard we know is little bit behind in terms of numbers. So, if you compare our numbers we reported to the state dashboard, you’ll notice that the state has fewer cases than what we reported,” said Grim.

She said the Health Center saw an increase in cases during the holidays. She expects it to continue over the next couple weeks as more at home test are made available to Americans.

“The first of which should be arriving early next week. We expect to have all contracts awarded over the next two weeks and then Americans will begin being able to order these tests online later this month,” said Jen Psaki, White House Press secretary.

Grim shared she’s not against home tests but encourages folks to report if they pop up positive.

“It helps us track trends in the data and to kind of let us know where we stand in the pandemic,” said Grim.

If you do take an at home COVID-19 test and are positive, please call your county health department to report it.

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