Free At-Home PCR Tests Available to County Residents Who Have Covid Symptoms or Been a Close Contact
The deal from the county is completely free, including shipping, but there is a downside.
January 4, 2022
December 31, 2021 - Free at-home PCR Covid tests are available from the County of Los Angeles's Department of Public Health website.
"If you're sick you shouldn't be leaving your house," Dr. Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health, said at a virtual press conference on Thursday. Instead, you can go the county health department's website and order a free Covid test to be sent to your home. It will arrive via express mail in two business days.
A free prepaid overnight Fedex shipping label is included for residents to return the test to Fulgent Genetics lab. Results should be available within 48 hours of the lab receiving the test and will be given via email.
Tests should not be ordered unless you intend to use it within 3-5 days. Samples should be collected immediately and sent in right away. It is not advised to collect samples over the weekend as Fedex operations may not enable overnight delivery. A late test will be invalidated.
Here is the potential downside. If the test is positive, and you have Covid, county health officials now know who and where you are. (Tests will not be sent to PO boxes.) You will receive an email or text message from Healthvana requiring you to send contact information for those with whom you've been in close contact. They will then be contacted and notified they should get tested. And so on.
The LACDPH requires Covid-positive individuals to quarantine for a minimum of 5 days and wear a mask both indoors and outdoors when leaving the house. In order to be able to leave quarantine at the 5-day mark, you need to test negative for Covid. Since those who've contracted Covid can often have positive test results weeks after they are recovered, it is really a quarantine period of the previous full 10 days for many people.
If all of that sounds okay to you, then go to https://covid19.lacounty.gov/testing/ to order your free PCR test kit.