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No need to wait for COVID-19 test; here’s how you can take one online

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Do you want to travel overseas but are worried about finding a COVID-19 test to fly back to the United States? Does your company require a negative test to end quarantine? The answer to both solutions might be taking a COVID-19 test from home online, which provides a certified result and also eliminates the need to wait in line.More medical companies are offering supervised at-home COVID-19 tests, which meets the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s requirement for air travel into the United States and provide an official result that can be used for a variety of reasons.NewsCenter 5 put one company’s testing process to the test and found its process remarkably easy to navigate. As the omicron variant-fueled surge was growing, NewsCenter 5 contacted the online health company eMed about trying out their supervised COVID tests. After purchasing two tests for around $50, taking the test was as simple as creating an online account and clicking a button on eMed’s website to start testing. There is no need to reserve an appointment time in advance and the test supervision is available around the clock from anywhere in the world.The process began by identifying the state of residence so that eMed could report the COVID-19 test result to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.After testing the computer connection, camera and microphone, and a very brief wait, an online session with a test supervisor — or proctor, as eMed calls them — was launched. The guide verified the test’s expiration date and the test taker’s identity, then walked them through the test setup. Most important: The supervisor watched the nostril swabbing process to ensure an adequate sample was collected.After a 15-minute wait, a second guide joined the test taker to read the result. He asked them to told their test card in front of the computer camera so he could read the result. Then, he asked the test taker what they saw: one line or two. When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued authorization to these supervised COVID-19 tests, the agency said the test taker and the guide must agree on the result. If there is disagreement, the test is declared invalid.The COVID-19 test result was negative.”The person is asked if they see two lines or one line but yes, you’re required to hold that up and the proctor sees, as well,” said Dr. Patrice Harris, eMed’s chief executive officer. “We saw those long lines and said let’s solve a problem.”A few other companies offer at-home COVID-19 test supervision. Qured says it also complies with the CDC’s guidelines for re-entry into the United States. Qured’s website, however, says test takers must schedule a testing appointment.Harris believes testing “to go” (for travel) and testing “to know” (so patients can begin antiviral treatments as early as possible) will be needed for a long time to come. “In health care, we need to make the right thing to do the easy thing to do,” Harris said. “When you’re traveling, you never know. Right? You never know how long, how far away. And here you don’t have to worry about all that because you have the test with you already and you just take the test in your hotel room.”For those questioning how easy it is to cheat the system, Harris said some people have tried, including one who unsuccessfully attempted to alter a COVID-19 test with “Wite-Out” last week. Once again, any dispute between the test taker and supervisor means the test result is declared invalid.

Do you want to travel overseas but are worried about finding a COVID-19 test to fly back to the United States? Does your company require a negative test to end quarantine? The answer to both solutions might be taking a COVID-19 test from home online, which provides a certified result and also eliminates the need to wait in line.

More medical companies are offering supervised at-home COVID-19 tests, which meets the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s requirement for air travel into the United States and provide an official result that can be used for a variety of reasons.

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NewsCenter 5 put one company’s testing process to the test and found its process remarkably easy to navigate.

As the omicron variant-fueled surge was growing, NewsCenter 5 contacted the online health company eMed about trying out their supervised COVID tests. After purchasing two tests for around $50, taking the test was as simple as creating an online account and clicking a button on eMed’s website to start testing. There is no need to reserve an appointment time in advance and the test supervision is available around the clock from anywhere in the world.

The process began by identifying the state of residence so that eMed could report the COVID-19 test result to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

After testing the computer connection, camera and microphone, and a very brief wait, an online session with a test supervisor — or proctor, as eMed calls them — was launched. The guide verified the test’s expiration date and the test taker’s identity, then walked them through the test setup. Most important: The supervisor watched the nostril swabbing process to ensure an adequate sample was collected.

After a 15-minute wait, a second guide joined the test taker to read the result. He asked them to told their test card in front of the computer camera so he could read the result. Then, he asked the test taker what they saw: one line or two. When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued authorization to these supervised COVID-19 tests, the agency said the test taker and the guide must agree on the result. If there is disagreement, the test is declared invalid.

The COVID-19 test result was negative.

“The person is asked if they see two lines or one line but yes, you’re required to hold that up and the proctor sees, as well,” said Dr. Patrice Harris, eMed’s chief executive officer. “We saw those long [testing] lines and said let’s solve a problem.”

A few other companies offer at-home COVID-19 test supervision. Qured says it also complies with the CDC’s guidelines for re-entry into the United States. Qured’s website, however, says test takers must schedule a testing appointment.

Harris believes testing “to go” (for travel) and testing “to know” (so patients can begin antiviral treatments as early as possible) will be needed for a long time to come.

“In health care, we need to make the right thing to do the easy thing to do,” Harris said. “When you’re traveling, you never know. Right? You never know how long, how far away. And here you don’t have to worry about all that because you have the test with you already and you just take the test in your hotel room.”

For those questioning how easy it is to cheat the system, Harris said some people have tried, including one who unsuccessfully attempted to alter a COVID-19 test with “Wite-Out” last week. Once again, any dispute between the test taker and supervisor means the test result is declared invalid.

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