Free at-home COVID-19 tests now available in Idaho

By Reader Staff

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced June 15 that it has begun offering free, at-home coronavirus tests to Idaho residents, reiterating in a media release that “anyone who experiences COVID-19 symptoms is encouraged to get tested.”

Tests can be requested by calling 2-1-1. IDHW shared that no personal information is required other than a name and mailing address.

“Reliable and widely available testing is a critical part of our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said IDHW Division of Public Health Administrator Elke Shaw-Tulloch. “Combined with efforts to increase vaccinations, this important initiative can help to get us back to our usual way of living.”

IDHW is working with VAULT Medical to provide Idahoans COVID-19 PCR testing on saliva. VAULT tests can be used whether or not a person has symptoms or a known exposure to someone with COVID-19, according to IDHW.  

The test involves collecting saliva and mailing it to a laboratory that analyzes the sample. Saliva collection can be done at home with the assistance of a trained VAULT Medical observer via a virtual Zoom visit on a smartphone or tablet.

To use VAULT tests, individuals will create an account on their phone or tablet using their email account. They will then contact a remote observer via Zoom and collect the saliva specimen as the observer watches over Zoom. The saliva sample will then be mailed to VAULT in a self-addressed, pre-paid envelope via UPS. Results are available to the tested individual electronically in 24-72 hours. Test results are also reported to Idaho state or local public health departments by VAULT, per federal requirements for all COVID-19 testing.

IDHW shared that VAULT does not provide medical care, and those experiencing severe symptoms should follow-up with their physician or go to the nearest emergency department.

Call 2-1-1 by dialing either 2-1-1 or 1-800-926-2588 to get a free COVID-19 test through VAULT in Idaho. Those with questions can contact the IDHW Division of Public Health at 208-334-6996.

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