Your doctor may recommend taking a P.C.R. test for confirmation, and can provide a medical report to help you take time off from work or school. Your doctor can also help you track new or concerning symptoms, give advice about antiviral treatments and clear you to return to work once you have fully recovered.
Contact your local health department.
Many local public health departments have ways for people to report their results online, though their methods for obtaining test data often vary from region to region. You can find your health department’s website and information through the National Association of County and City Health Officials directory.
Some reporting methods are straightforward, like the one in Marin County, Calif., which has a simple online form for reporting results. Residents of St. Louis County, Mo., can call in, email or submit their results online. In Washington, D.C., you can use an iPhone or Android app, in addition to the Department of Health’s self-reporting web portal.
Other health department websites are notoriously confusing to navigate or even understand. New York State’s Covid-19 resource page, for example, says that residents are not required to report their test results. A representative for the Department of Health said that this was because New York had used only results from laboratories or official testing providers “to analyze trends and report consistent data to the public” since the beginning of the pandemic. But some counties in New York, like Albany County and Tompkins County, allow reporting of home test results, which is separate from the data the state collects.
Participate in crowdsourcing.
Although a national home test surveillance website does not exist, researchers from Dr. Brownstein’s group have developed a platform for crowdsourcing home test results called OutbreaksNearMe.org that is fairly intuitive to use.
Originally designed to track flu outbreaks, the site has expanded to help create maps and analyze Covid-19 case data submitted by volunteers. The site shares information with the C.D.C. and local public health agencies and makes it available to the public, Dr. Brownstein said.
“Home tests represent a huge change in how quickly people can identify an infection, how quickly they can get care and access therapeutics,” Dr. Brownstein said. “They are going to be a core way that health care is delivered in the future, so we need to make sure that we in public health keep up with testing data.”
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