Jan 10, 2022 - COVID

Why Minnesota isn't tracking at-home rapid test results

box of covid rapid test
Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Minnesotans who test positive for COVID-19 via an at-home rapid test are not expected to share their results with local health officials — and there there's no where to report the case even if they tried.

The big picture: As America's record Omicron surge continues, cities and states across the country have no cohesive strategy to monitor the results of at-home rapid COVID tests, an Axios Local report found.

Why it matters: Our patchwork public ability to tally at-home tests means that the current COVID caseload is almost certainly a vast undercount — and that may be a reality we all have to accept at this stage of the pandemic.

What they're saying: MDH spokesperson Doug Schultz told Axios that the state doesn't collect or track at-home tests because "we do not have a good way to verify the results."

  • Staffing and creating a system to receive so many updates would also be a challenge, he added.
  • "We may not be able to count every case, but people will continue to get laboratory-run testing, so our data will still provide a picture of what is happening in the state," he said.

Be smart: If you test positive via a home test, MDH says you should assume you do have COVID, whether or not you seek confirmation via PCR.

  • MDH recommends that you stay home and away from others. Current CDC guidance is to isolate for five days if you are asymptomatic and wear a mask in public for five more after that.
  • While the state won't pursue contact tracing, you should inform anyone you've been in close contact with of your positive result.
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