If you test positive on a home test, should you report it? | KTAB

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If your home test is positive, who should you tell? It depends on where you live. (Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR) – As the omicron variant spreads and appointments for the COVID-19 test are hard to find, many Americans are turning to home testing to determine if they are infected. But if your home test is positive, should you report the case to the public health department or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?

The short answer is it depends on where you live.

The CDC is not asking people to report the case as part of its self-test guidelines; however, many local health departments want this information. Some counties, like Marin County California and Albany County in New York, have easy ways to report positive with an online form.

Other counties and local health jurisdictions, such as San Francisco, require you to report the case to your primary health care provider. They are then required to report the case to the county.

Some places don’t have formal guidelines on what to do. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health told the Boston Globe that it had no way to collect test results at home.

The only way to find out what you’re supposed to do where you live is to check with your local health department.

The fact that home test results are not routinely reported to local health departments or the CDC means that COVID cases are currently underreported.

“We have no idea what the true positivity rate is“, Atul Grover, executive director of the Association of American Medical Colleges, told PBS in December.

Even if you don’t have to report the case to health authorities, it’s still a good idea to let anyone know you have been in close contact with in the past few days. They may need to self-quarantine or take a COVID-19 test.

If you test positive at home, you will also need to begin following CDC isolation procedures. Learn more about what it entails here.

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