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Expert weighs in on at-home COVID-19 test kits

Local 5 asked Dr. Daniel Diekema, with the University of Iowa, what the difference between the COVID-19 test at a clinic versus the at-home test.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — COVID-19 cases continue to rise as the Delta variant consumes a majority of the country.

Local 5 asked Dr. Daniel Diekema with the University of Iowa what the difference between the COVID-19 test at a clinic versus the at-home test. He said, "The at-home test is reliable."

He explained the at-home test kit you get through TestIowa is very sensitive to detecting the virus.

The most widely available at-home test is the swab you stick up your nose, but this one is different than the standard test from the clinic.

The drawback of this test is that it's less sensitive to detecting the virus and generally shows a positive test when you're in the contagious stage.

Diekema said the best time to use an at-home test kit is for an in-home quarantine for students.

"In other words, if a student had an exposure to an infected person rather than going home and being quarantined for seven to 14 days they would just do one of these rapid tests every morning," explained Diekema.

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