What at-home COVID-19 test kits are available for the Texas A&M community?
The BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card and INDICAID are FDA-approved testing products available from the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM).
Both available products are referred to as home tests or over-the-counter (OTC) and are antigen tests. Antigen tests are designed to detect proteins from the virus that causes COVID-19 in respiratory specimens, such as nasal swabs. You can use these self-tests, regardless of vaccination status, or whether or not you have symptoms.
Find a list of frequently asked questions below.
Potential risks include:
- Possible discomfort or other complications that can happen during sample collection.
- Possible incorrect test result (see below for more information).
Potential benefits include:
- The results, along with other information, can help you make informed decisions about your healthcare.
- The results of this test may help limit the spread of COVID-19 to your family and others in your community.
Based on this result, COVID-19 isolation is required. Follow the CDC isolation guidelines.
To calculate your 5-day isolation period, day 0 is your first day of symptoms. Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed. You can leave isolation after 5 full days, but must continue to wear a face mask for 5 additional days.
- You can end isolation after 5 full days if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved (Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation).
- You must continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public for 5 additional days (day 6 through day 10) after the end of your 5-day isolation period. If you are unable to wear a mask when around others, you must continue to isolate for a full 10 days. Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings, until after at least 10 days.
If you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever resolves.
You are required to self-report to the university through the COVID Reporting Portal. This act of Selfless Service will help the university to understand and control the virus on campus. You can obtain documentation to support COVID-related absences from class or work through this reporting process.
If you have questions about your result, please contact your healthcare provider who will work with you to determine how best to care for you based on your test result(s) along with your medical history, and your symptoms.
When to Seek Emergency Medical Attention
Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately.
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility. Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.
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. A negative test means there is not enough of the viral protein present to make the test positive. Repeating the test within a few days, with at least 24 hours between tests, will increase the confidence that you are not infected.
If you have questions about your result, please contact your healthcare provider who will work with you to determine how best to care for you based on your test result(s) along with your medical history (such as symptoms, possible exposures, and geographical location of places you have recently traveled) in deciding how to care for you. The amount of antigen in a sample may decrease the longer you have symptoms of infection. Specimens collected after you have had symptoms for more than seven days may be more likely to be negative compared to a molecular assay (PCR).
There are different kinds of tests for COVID-19.
- Molecular tests (also known as PCR tests) detect genetic material from the virus. PCR tests may stay positive up to 12 weeks after initial infection.
- Antigen tests detect proteins from the virus. Antigen tests are very specific for the virus, but are not as sensitive as molecular tests. This means that a positive result is highly accurate for active infection, but a negative result does not rule out infection. A negative test means there is not enough of the viral protein present to make the test positive.