Coronavirus Updates

Distribution of Free COVID Home Tests Begins

Posted January 24, 2022, 4:55 PM HST ·Updated January 24, 4:56 PM

Kaua‘i County, in partnership with the state Department of Health, is handing out 15,000 free COVID home self-test kits this week. Distribution began Monday.

“We want to get them out to the community as quickly as possible,” said Mayor Derek Kawakami in the county’s video briefing Monday. “We will be at neighborhood centers around the island all week long. Stop by and grab tests for yourself and your ‘ohana.”

There is a limit of five free home tests per household so the county can get them to as many families as possible before the supply is exhausted. The test kits are being given out on a first-come, first-served basis.

“This morning in Kekaha, we ran out of tests after about an hour,” Kawakami said.

More details can be found by clicking here. Residents can also order free tests from the federal government and receive them via mail by clicking here.

“Home test kits are different from the tests used at clinics, drive-throughs and the convention hall and vans,” Kawakami said.

Dr. Janet Berreman, Kaua‘i District Health officer, explained the difference.

“These are rapid antigen tests, not PCR tests like we use at the testing center,” said Berreman in the video briefing. “With the rapid home tests, you get your results in about 15 minutes and you can test in the privacy of your own home. If you need a PCR test for travel to some destinations, for example, a home antigen test is not acceptable.”

She added that it’s important to follow the test instructions carefully.

“If you don’t, the results are less likely to be accurate,” Berreman said.

Home tests are useful in many situations; however, the district health officer said they are less sensitive and could be more likely to produce a false negative.

“So if you have symptoms and your home test is negative, you should repeat it a day or two later and remain isolated as long as you’re sick,” Berreman said.

To watch the entire video briefing, which was posted on the county’s Facebook page, click here.