ATLANTA — Long lines have been reported at COVID test sites around metro Atlanta as a surge of positive cases, school quarantines, and negative test mandates to return to school or work are driving the demand.
Now, a local doctor is helping develop an at-home test that she hopes will ease some of the testing lines.
Dr. Patrice Harris can walk through how to take this home COVID test in less than five minutes.
First, you get on a video call with an EMed proctor. Then, you scan a QR code and open a box right in the chat. From there, you swab each nostril five times and then put the swab on the test strip.
After fifteen minutes, you show the results to the proctor, who certifies whether you are positive or negative for COVID-19.
Those results are then sent to your local health department.
"We want to make sure tests are easily accessible to everyone. We want to make the right thing to do, the easy thing to do," Harris said.
She developed the home COVID test with EMed and ABBOT last year after people were waiting for hours to get tested for COVID-19, something she says she's starting to see that again.
"Just in the last few days, I saw what we saw at the beginning of the pandemic: long lines, people waiting in their cars for hours. Sometimes the test locations were not easily accessible by people who needed it most," she said.
As the former president of the American Medical Association, Harris says it was important to make sure everyone has equal access to testing.
"We saw early on that Black and Brown communities were disproportionately impacted and again, as I saw, not only here in Atlanta, but around the world," she said.
Harris thinks people will start turning to at-home tests more as the pandemic continues, and families and employers need this information.
"We are getting a lot of calls from employers who are thinking about the return to work protocols, getting a lot of calls from schools that are thinking about the return to school," she said.
The EMed COVID test is approved by the FDA and can be used to re-enter the US after international travel.
Many international destinations now require a negative COVID test to enter the country, and the US requires a negative test to get back.
EMed designed an at-home test so that travelers can get their results almost immediately.
The Atlanta-based company teamed up with Atlanta-based DELTA to have travelers take the tests with them on their trip.
"You take it within the comfort of your hotel room or Airbnb, and you have your results to re-enter the US. It's about making the right thing to do the easy thing to do. As a former public health official, I know that it's so important to make what we want people to do easy to do - whether that's vaccines or testing," she said.
The tests are $25 and can be ordered online and delivered within 24 hours.