EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – With more at-home COVID-19 tests in use City of El Paso is asking everyone to report their positive tests on their website.
Even though at-home tests are scarce at the moment, those who have tested positive are being instructed to report it to the city on the official website.
“Being able to understand what is happening in our community helps our health officials and our government officials in what needs to happen policy wise in addition to health wise,” explained Laura Cruz Acosta, communications director with the city.
On EPstrong.org under the “Testing” tab, you will find a “Self-reporting Form,” which you fill out with your personal information and upload a photo of your positive test with your name on it along with the date when it was taken.
If your test doesn’t have a designated space for writing, Acosta suggested writing the information on a sticky-note and placing it by the test.
However, more questions are surrounding at-home tests: what happens if you have symptoms, but test negative?
Acosta said to still assume you have COVID-19 and consider taking a PCR test.
At this time, PCR testing sites are filled with long lines and take several days for test results to come back.
In that case, Acosta suggested still isolating as if you tested positive for the virus while you wait for your results.
Dr. Ed Michelson, chairman of Department of Emergency Medicine at Texas Tech University, explained the difference between your at-home and PCR test.
Your at-home test is an antigen test, he said, which means that it is less sensitive than the PCR.
“PCR tests are highly sensitive. There are people who test positive 40 days after they’ve tested positive with COVID,” he said.
“The antigen tests have more of the false negatives because they are less sensitive and some people think for omicron they might not be positive as soon as we saw with delta,” he explained.
To avoid the false negative result with your at-home test, he suggested waiting two to three days to take it when you are showing symptoms, and isolate during that time.