You can get a COVID-19 test delivered to your home for free. Here’s how

·2 min read

If you want to get a COVID-19 test in Idaho, you can take a free test at home without having to visit a pharmacy or health clinic, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

The department has partnered with Vault Medical, a health startup, to offer COVID-19 tests that are supervised virtually and can be submitted through the mail, according to a news release.

By calling 2-1-1, Idaho residents can request that a test be sent to their home. After they receive the test, which will be mailed from the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories, they will receive instructions for how to set up an account on a smartphone or tablet, Niki Forbing-Orr, a spokesperson for Health and Welfare, told the Idaho Statesman by email.

And the test itself, once it comes, doesn’t require a nasal swab. Vault offers COVID-19 PCR tests, emergency-authorized by the FDA, that need only a saliva sample to detect coronavirus RNA.

Through Zoom, residents can connect with a “remote observer” any day of the week who will supervise the saliva collection, which can then be mailed to Vault in a self-addressed, prepaid envelope provided with the test, according to the release. Results will be available electronically in 24 to 72 hours.

“Reliable and widely available testing is a critical part of our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Elke Shaw Tulloch, administrator of the Division of Public Health, said in the release. “Combined with efforts to increase vaccinations, this important initiative can help to get us back to our usual way of living.”

Residents who call 2-1-1 to ask for a test will not need to share personal information other than a name and mailing address, according to the release. Those who request tests are not required to have symptoms or a known exposure to COVID-19 in order to receive a test.

Saliva-based tests were authorized by the FDA last spring, and several states began offering at-home saliva tests in late 2020.

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