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Rapid COVID-19 Testing

A lady with a rapid COVID-19 test

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. Below are details about the various partners we are working with to make testing available, as well as information for employers who are interested in initiating testing programs.

Community Access

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 for all Ohioans. These tests are especially powerful in providing access to testing for our vulnerable populations.

Schools

The state has also determined that education, both K-12 and higher education, are appropriate uses for these state-provided tests.

Employers

The state is not providing testing to directly support employer-based testing. However, selecting the “Employer Testing Resources” tab below provides information about how employers can get start their own testing program.

Types of Rapid At-Home Tests

The state 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. Initiate a BinaxNOW Home test session by visiting Ohio.emed.com

The second type of test is an over-the-counter version of the BinaxNOW test, that is a self-administered test; i.e., there is no proctor to guide the user. The user may self-report results into the public health system through Abbott’s NAVICA smartphone app, or at www.mynavica.abbott. The over-the-counter test results are for personal use and do not produce a result that can be used for travel, return to school, or to end quarantine in Ohio.

General Guidance Documents

K-12 Schools

Universities

Local Health Departments

Libraries

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.

Expiration Dates

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the extension of expiration dates for the BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests to be 12 months from the manufacture date. The extended expiration dates can be found in the charts provided by Abbott for the BinaxNOW Traditional tests (i.e., clinical tests) and the BinaxNOW Home tests. In order to find the new expiration date, you must identify the lot number on the test kit box.

NOTE:  We are awaiting further guidance from the manufacturer about whether the expiration dates of BinaxNOW tests will be extended again.  Until more information is available, please do not destroy any tests that may reach its current expiration date. 

UPDATE: As of Jan. 13, 2022, we have been informed by the test manufacturer that there has been an additional three-month extension of the expiration dates of Abbott BinaxNOW tests (both home and clinical/professional)

  • Home Tests:  The telehealth provider needs time to update its workflows before the tests may be proctored.  A list of the lot numbers covered by the extension will be posted here as soon as it is received and once we have confirmed that eMed is able to proctor those tests.  Until then, please do not attempt to start a telehealth session with a test that reached it original expiration date. 
  • Clinical/Professional Tests:   These tests may be used effective immediately.  Further extensions of the expiration dates are not expected, so it is critical that tests be utilized ahead of tests with expiration dates much later in 2022.