The Essex County Health Department is asking residents to report the results of at-home COVID-19 tests.
With the number of COVID-19 cases continuing the rise — the department reported 44 new cases over the past three days, bringing the total number of active cases countywide to 71 — the department is now encouraging broader testing methods for COVID-19. Rapid at-home antigen tests, like the Binax NOW self-test, have become available in most drug stores for an average of $24, but the results from these tests aren’t always automatically reported to the health department.
In a news release this week, the department asked those who take an at-home test, like the Binax NOW test, and who receive a positive result, to report their result by phone at 518-873-3500 or online on the health department website.
Some over-the-counter, at-home lab tests — which are approved by the FDA — work a little differently than the Binax NOW test. These pricier tests, usually in the $100 range, often require remote supervision from professionals and the samples need to be sent out for lab testing.
“If the test syncs to an app or is sent out to a lab, these results are automatically reported,” a news release from the health department reads.
Right now, there is a national shortage of rapid at-home antigen tests. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced a $2 billion plan to replenish stock across the nation. In the meantime, some pharmacies have placed a limit on how many at-home tests a customer can purchase.
Drive-through and on-site testing at Kinney’s Drugs and Walgreens are still available free of charge.
The county Health Department reported 71 active cases of COVID-19 countywide on Thursday, 44 of those cases new since Monday. Of the new cases, five are located in Jay, two are residents of North Elba, two are in St. Armand and one is located in Wilmington, according to the health department. Zero of the new cases are in Keene.
Of the 44 new cases announced Thursday, 12 people are “breakthrough” cases, according to the health department — meaning they were vaccinated but subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. The department also reported that about 25% of the 44 cases are children under the age of 18.
“As we’ve noted in the past, Essex County data tracks very closely with the pandemic trends seen nationally and statewide,” the department wrote in a news release. “What you’re seeing on the news is happening here. Our data shows that the vaccine continues to be very effective in preventing severe disease, hospitalizations and deaths; we’re experiencing similar increases in cases among school-aged children who are unable to be vaccinated; as well as an overall increase in cases due to the higher transmissibility of the delta variant.”
The Franklin County Health Department reported 225 active cases of COVID-19 countywide on Thursday, 35 of those new since Wednesday.