Health officials say unreported results from at-home COVID tests could skew case count

Posted at 9:41 AM, Dec 16, 2021

(WXYZ) — As COVID-19 and different variants continue to sweep across the country, testing has become more readily available.

On Wednesday Michigan reported 11,000 new COVID cases and 330 deaths over a two-day period. An average of more than 5,800 cases a day.

Local pharmacies are even selling rapid antigen tests that are becoming increasingly popular. The problem with those at-home tests—most go unreported which means county COVID numbers could be wrong.

Last month, the CDC removed the recommendation to report test results to health departments or health care providers and one local doctor believes those unreported cases should be a cause for concern.

Doctor Mouhanad Hammami is the former Chief Health Strategist for Wayne County's COVID-19 response. He says those taking those at-home tests should report their results.

"It's very important because as we know contact tracing is the key in epidemiology whenever we are trying to find out who got exposed and who is at risk," he said.

And while the at-home tests are very helpful and convenient for people, there is still room for error.

"Just a word of caution, we certainly want to make sure that if it's positive to get reported but however the accuracy of some of these test can be misleading," Hammami said.

Doctors still rely on the gold standard of covid testing, the PCR and lab tests.

Those labs record their findings, positive or negative, to local health departments and eventually, it makes its way up to the national health agencies.