As at-home COVID-19 test demand rises, local physicians warn results may not always be accurate

Coronavirus Impacting Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa — As COVID cases continue to rise, so does the demand for at-home test kits. While they are convenient, they may not always be the best option. 

A MercyOne physician, Joseph McGargill said there are times where at-home testing may be the only option, but there is a good chance the result may not be accurate for various reasons, as many Iowans have experienced false positives or false negatives.

“There is no 100% especially if you’re doing a test at home. At home and especially if you do an antigen test, those are well known for being false positives,” said McGargill.

There are two options for at-home tests, a rapid antigen test and a PCR test. 

Antigen tests are more accurate for people with symptoms, but local medical professionals recommend a PCR test overall for the most accurate results. 

An at-home test could be inaccurate because it was taken too soon, as it is advised to wait 5 days after possible exposure. 

Go to a local test site if you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive. If you have symptoms or think you have received a false result from an at-home test, it is recommended you seek care from your physician. Medical professionals understand this may not always be possible.

If you are looking for a test kit and cannot find one, you can find free kits at

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