Testing for COVID-19 is a critical tool to help reduce the spread of the virus. Testing saves lives. When we are able to test more individuals in a community, it allows us to quickly identify and isolate infected individuals, which helps us contain and decrease the spread of illness. Testing helps us go on the offense against COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information on COVID-19 testing, including when to test, types of tests available, specific information about self-tests, and how to interpret results.
Ohio has invested in rapid COVID-19 testing with a goal of using fast, free, and convenient testing to control the spread of COVID-19. The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is working with various partners to make testing available. Please see information below for details, as well as information for employers who are interested in initiating testing programs.
The state is working with local health departments, public libraries, community health centers and other community partners to make rapid tests – both at-home and onsite – available and accessible to Ohioans. These tests are especially effective in providing access to testing for our vulnerable populations.
The state also partners with education, both K-12 and higher education, to provide tests as a tool to help mitigate spread in classroom and campus settings.
The state is not providing testing to directly support employer-based testing. By selecting the “Employer Testing Resources” tab below, employers can find information on how get start their own testing program.
Types of Rapid At-Home Tests
The State of Ohio has invested in two types of tests that can be used at home, for different purposes. The first, is a proctored home test that uses a telehealth session to guide the user through the testing and produces a documented result that can be used for official purposes like travel, return to school, or ending quarantine. The telehealth session can also connect you, if you test positive, to a clinical evaluation to determine your eligibility for COVID-19 treatment. Initiate a BinaxNOW Home test session by visiting Ohio.emed.com.
The second type of test is an over-the-counter (OTC) test that is self-administered. The over-the-counter test results are for personal use, and unless proctored by a CLIA-waived entity, do not produce a result that can be used for travel, return to school, or to end quarantine in Ohio. The state has invested in OTC tests from multiple manufacturers to ensure availability, all of which have received an emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Users may self-report results from a BinaxNOW test into the public health system through Abbott’s NAVICA smartphone app, or at www.mynavica.abbott. Results from other types of at-home tests can be reported to your local health department.
General Guidance Documents
- Rapid Antigen Test Weekly Reporting Form.
- Over-the-Counter (OTC) COVID-19 Test Guidance.
- Abbott BinaxNOW Ag Home Tests Guidance.
- Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test Kit, Ohio User Guide.
- Abbott BinaxNow Traditional Test Guidance (on-site administration).
Employer Testing Resources
The State of Ohio does not supply tests for employer-based testing. However, there are a number of independent resources available for businesses and other organizations that want to initiate testing programs. These resources include guidance on how often to test, how to choose the appropriate test for your organization, how to project costs, and where to purchase tests. Note that an employer/organization is not required to go through the sites below – they are intended to provide helpful, independent guidance for organizations interested in starting a testing program.
How often should my organization test?
The National Institutes of Health, through the NIH RADx initiative, has established a resource – WhenToTest.org –a modeling tool that illustrates how different COVID-19 testing strategies can minimize spread and sustain safe workplaces. Organizations can toggle for different parameters, including levels of vaccination among employees, masking, social distancing and cohorting to determine a testing strategy based on the best available science. This site provides recommendations only, which are not necessarily connected to any “vaccine or test” mandates.
Which test is right for my organization?
Connect to Test is a tool that helps organizations and individuals find the right COVID-19 tests for their unique needs. The resource was developed by Arizona State University in collaboration with WhenToTest.org and Project N95. Connect to Test allows users to answer a few questions about their testing needs, and to receive options of FDA-authorized tests that meet the criteria. This site is intended to allow the user to understand and compere different available testing options and make informed COVID-19 testing decisions, not to endorse or recommend any specific test or any specific manufacturer.
Where can I buy tests, and how much will it cost?
An independent source for COVID-19 testing is Project N95.This site maintains up-to-date information on all testing modalities – lab-based PCR, rapid antigen, rapid PCR, etc. – and testing providers currently offering or performing COVID-19 testing. The site also provides educational resources to help organizations implement testing programs.
Project N95 is a 501(C)(3) that is not affiliated with any specific test manufacturer or seller. The site is intended to serve as a trusted and transparent resource for information and testing options, with established partnerships, and comprehensive vetting processes. ProjectN95 can enable group purchases and manage last-mile distribution for organizations seeking to buy smaller quantities, which keeps costs low and helps frontline workers avoid having to meet suppliers’ minimum order quantities. These services are the essence of the ProjectN95 nonprofit mission.
The FDA continues to work with COVID-19 test manufacturers to evaluate the shelf-life of COVID-19 tests and authorize expiration extensions as appropriate.
The FDA has made available on its website an expiration date lookup tool for all home test / OTC COVID-19 tests that have received an emergency use authorization (EUA). Details:
- Scroll down to view the complete list of testing products.
- Sites can select their specific test and within the “Expiration Date” column, click on “Expiration Date: See link for list of updated expiration dates.”
- Sites can then locate their lot #(s) on the list provided and find their expiration date
Current expiration dates for BinaxNOW professional (i.e., on-site administration) tests can be found on the Abbott website.