Home COVID-19 Self-Test Kit FAQs

  1. I had a positive home test. What should I do?

    1. Because of their lower sensitivity, antigen tests are much less likely to produce false positives than they are to produce false negatives. If you have a positive test, no matter how faint the test line is, you should immediately begin isolating.

    2. Isolation guidance: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-isolation-and-quarantine-guidance-for-the-general-public

  2. My home test was positive. How do I report my test to the department of public health/local health department?

    1. Report a positive at-home test to the Northampton Health Department online or by calling (413) 587-4919

  3. My home test was positive. Should I get a PCR test?

    1. You are in no way required to follow up on a positive home test with a PCR test

    2. If you decide to retest with a PCR test because you suspect your test is a false positive, note that your PCR test should be obtained within 2 days of your positive home test in order to overrule your positive home test. Until you have a negative PCR result in hand, you should remain in isolation.

    3. You may however want a more official record of your positive test for your medical records, travel requirements, pre-procedure test requirements, etc. Note that post-COVID/long COVID clinics may require an official record of your test result in order to provide post-COVID care.

  4. I have symptoms, but my home test was negative. Does this mean that I don’t have COVID?

    1. Home antigen tests are not as sensitive as molecular tests such as the PCR test, and may not detect the virus - especially early on in infection. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should obtain a PCR test if possible

    2. If you only have a home antigen test, it may be advisable to wait until you have had symptoms for a couple days before testing, and stay home in the meantime. 

    3. If you have symptoms and no known exposure but continue to test negative, it is prudent to stay home at least until you are fever free and your other symptoms have significantly improved for at least 24 hours without medication

    4. If you have symptoms and known exposure to the virus but continue to test negative, you should continue to isolate per the Massachusetts COVID-19 isolation protocol: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-isolation-and-quarantine-guidance-for-the-general-public

  5. I was exposed to COVID-19 and my home test was negative. What should I do?

    1. If you have symptoms and known exposure to the virus but test negative on a home test, you should continue to isolate per the Massachusetts COVID-19 isolation protocol: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-isolation-and-quarantine-guidance-for-the-general-public

    2. If you are asymptomatic and test negative with a home test, you should continue to follow the most appropriate exposure and quarantine protocol based on your vaccination status

  6. What are home antigen tests looking for?

    1. Antigen tests are designed to detect antigens, a specific type of protein, on the surface of the virus. 

    2. It is very important that you follow manufacturer instructions when using these tests; each type of test will have its own directions and materials, though antigen tests typically include a nasal swab, reagent, and testing strip