Testing is an important tool to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you have symptoms or had a known exposure to someone with COVID-19, you should be tested, regardless of vaccination status.
Testing can lead to quick identification of positive cases, help provide quick treatment and isolation for those infected, and help identify anyone exposed to the virus so they too can get treated quickly.
Covid-19 self-tests (also known as at-home tests or over-the-counter [OTC] tests) are one type of test to identify the virus that causes COVID-19. Self-testing offers fast results and can help protect you and others and reduce the chances of spreading COVID-19.
Where to Find At-Home COVID-19 Tests
All US residents are eligible to receive free at-home COVID-19 tests. Place your order here: covidtests.gov.
You can also purchases tests at local pharmacies or retail stores. Visit the FDA website for a list of authorized tests. (For information about community PCR testing sites in Norwalk, visit www.norwalkct.org/testing.)
How to Report Test Results
Please click this link to report a positive test result from an at-home test kit to the Norwalk Health Department: www.norwalkct.org/selfreport. When you submit your test results, you will receive an automatic email with instructions for isolation or quarantine, and you may receive a call from the Health Department providing more information.
How to Use a Self-Test
Read the test kit manufacturer’s instructions thoroughly before using the test. If you have questions about the test or your results, call your healthcare provider or local health department.
Prepare to Collect Specimen and Perform the Test
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Open the box and read through the instructions included with your self-test.
- Follow the instructions exactly and perform the steps in the order they are listed.
- The manufacturer may also provide other resources, such as a quick reference guide or instructional video to help you perform the test correctly.
- Once collected, use the specimen as described in the instructions to complete the self-test.
Understanding Your At-Home COVID-19 Test Result
If Your Test Result is Positive
A positive self-test result means that the test detected the SARS-CoV-2 virus and indicates that you very likely have a current infection. After receiving a positive at-home test result:
- Stay Home and Isolate Immediately. Stay home for at least 5 days except to get medical care. Stay away from household members and do not have visitors to your home. Avoid public transportation. If, after 5 days, you still feel sick, continue to stay home until your symptoms resolve. Call your doctor for guidance. For more detailed information on isolating after you test positive, click here to read the CDC recommendations or use the CDC's quarantine and isolation calculator.
- Contact Your Healthcare Provider and Local Health Department. Inform your healthcare provider of your positive test result. Contact them first by either phone or email. If you live in Norwalk, notify the Norwalk Health Department of your positive result by completing the Covid-19 Test Self-Reporting Portal at www.norwalkct.org/selfreport. If you live in another town, please contact your local health department if you have questions.
- Inform Close Contacts About COVID-19 Exposure. After receiving a positive at-home test result, it is extremely important to inform those you have been in contact with in the two days before you started to feel sick and any time after taking your test. If you didn’t have any symptoms, notify those you had been in contact with two days before you took your test, and anytime after taking your test. This will allow the exposed individual time to have their own testing done, monitor for symptoms, and quarantine to minimize the chances of spreading COVID-19 on to more people. For more detailed information on quarantining after you’ve been exposed, click here to read the CDC recommendations.
If Your Test Result is Negative
A negative self-test result means that the test did not detect the virus and you may not have an infection, but it does not rule out infection. Repeating the test within a few days, with at least 24 hours between tests, will increase the confidence that you are not infected. Serial tests, defined as two or more tests over several days with at least 24 hours between tests, improves the reliability of self-testing and reduces your risk of transmitting COVID-19 to others.
For More Information
- CDC: Self-Testing at Home or Anywhere
- CDC: Using Your Self-Test (English)
- CDC: Uso De La Autoprueba (Espanol)
- CDC: How to Interpret Self-Test Results
- CDC: Don't Delay! Test Soon and Treat Early (English)
- CDC: No Te Demores: Hazte La Prueba Y Recibetratamiento Pronto (Espanol)
- CDC: Updated Recommended Isolation and Quarantine Period for General Population
- FDA: List of Authorized At-Home OTC COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests