Georgia health officials hope free at-home COVID-19 tests will slow down the virus

ATLANTA — The federal government is planning on sending four at-home COVID-19 testing kits to every household in the U.S. that wants them in an effort to slow down the virus.

The government’s plan is to eventually send a billion COVID-19 tests out for free.

Many are wondering, however, if officials will be able to tell if cases are surging with more people testing at home and not reporting their results.

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“I tested positive and it was all downhill from there,” South Fulton neighbor Larry Starke told Channel 2′s Matt Johnson.

Starke and his fiancé are two of the nearly 445,000 Georgians to test positive since Christmas Eve.

He says that knowing his results helped him know to isolate from others.

“We took every precaution necessary,” he said.

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Any American can now click here and get four free tests sent to their home. This comes as stores continue to struggle to keep rapid tests on the shelves.

Getting the tests is as simple as putting in your name address.

“I think that everybody should order these tests that made available, they’re free,” Dr. Leslie Leighton, a physician and Georgia State University professor, said.

Dr. Leighton says the free tests could have been useful before the omicron variant became so prevalent, but that the latest variant caught experts by surprise.

“I don’t think anybody knew really the end, the administration didn’t know, really the extent of which the omicron variant would infect Americans and those around the world,” Leighton said.

The at-home tests don’t automatically report results to the state, so some positive tests could be underreported.

“We’ll see the rate of infection go down. But of course, there may be other variants that come to light once this variant has subsided,” Leighton said.

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Starke says he has already ordered the free tests for his household in case his first bout with COVID-19 isn’t his last.

“I don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon,” Starke said.

While the government is only offering these four tests to be sent to you directly, they say you can be reimbursed for rapid tests you buy, if you can find them in stock.

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