Testing is very important to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
A rapid test is a type of viral test that can tell you if you are infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Rapid tests (also called Antigen tests) use lab-made antibodies to search for antigens from the virus in samples that come from your nose or mouth and can be performed in minutes.
Rapid testing is available through many pharmacies and health care providers. Self-tests (also referred to as home tests or over the counter (OTC) tests) are rapid tests that can be taken at home, are easy to use, and produce rapid results. Self-tests may be used if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed or potentially exposed to an individual with COVID-19. Even if you don't have symptoms and have not been exposed to an individual with COVID-19, using a self-test before gathering indoors with others can give you information about the risk of spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Consider using a self-test before joining indoor gatherings with others who are not in your household, especially before gathering with unvaccinated children, older individuals, those who are immunocompromised, or individuals at risk of severe disease.
Read the manufacturer's instructions before using the test, follow the instructions exactly, and perform the steps in the order that they are listed. A positive self-test result means that the test detected the virus and you very likely have an infection, and should stay home and away from others for 5 days and until your symptoms are resolving and you are fever free, and wear a mask around others for an additional 5 days. A negative self-test result means that the test did not detect the virus and you may not have an infection. You may repeat the test within a few days, with at least 24 hours between tests, to rule out infection more confidently.