MOUNT VERNON -- Knox Public Health once again has free, at-home test kits for COVID-19.
The test kits can be picked up in the front lobby at the health department, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Knox Public Health is located at 11660 Upper Gilchrist Rd., Mount Vernon.
There is a limit of one test kit per person and four test kits per family.
According to Knox Public Health, at-home tests can be reliable and enable people to return to work or school, but it is important for people to follow the instructions. That includes having the test proctored or monitored.
Knox Public Health provides written step-by-step instructions detailing the technical requirements and the testing process. While the actual test results are available in approximately 15 minutes, the entire process can take anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes.
The BinaxNOW test kit - which is the brand that Knox Public Health provides - requires access to the internet, an email account, and a smartphone, computer or tablet with a webcam. Preparation for the test involves a live video chat with a test monitor who observes the actual testing procedure and provides instructions on how to use the test kit.
The rapid test is especially helpful for someone who may have been exposed to a positive COVID-19 case and are required to quarantine for 14 days. Yet, under the current protocol, after five days of quarantine, someone can be tested and if they test negative, and remain symptom free, they can be released from quarantine after eight days instead of 14.
With such a quick turnaround, the at-home tests help people who test negative, return to normal activities such as work or school. If people test positive, it reinforces protective measures so they don’t spread the virus.