At-home COVID-19 tests: what you need to know

Note: During the governor’s press conference Friday morning, DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch announced that the free at-home testing program has been discontinued. Should you decide to order from Vault Health, it will no longer be free of cost. This story was put together before this announcement.

WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY) – Last week, Governor Jim Justice announced free at-home testing for West Virginia residents.

“These are saliva-based test kits available to West Virginia residents at no cost to them,” said Governor Justice. “Any fees will be waived once a West Virginia address is entered on the Vault Health site.”

All you have to do is visit VaultHealth.com and answer a few questions about potential exposure and symptoms. Type in your address and your test is on its way.

“They are actually received at somebody’s home within 24 hours of ordering,” says Vault Heath founder and CEO Jason Feldman. “As long as UPS ships on a given day, five, six days a week, they will receive a test.”

Once your kit is delivered, follow the instructions on the blue pamphlet and join a zoom call with your assigned nurse.

“We want to make sure that people don’t make a mistake and send their test in and have it be rejected,” said Feldman. “We want to make sure that people know that they’re going to get a result that is accurate and helps them make a decision as to whether or not they are sick or they are safe.”

After spitting into the tube, the nurse instructs the patient to close the sample and put it in an included envelope to send back to the lab. Before you know it, your results are back and the sample is destroyed.

“This is a medical test, so we practice HIPPA regulations, which is to protect the integrity and the secrecy or the privacy of a patient’s data. We do not ever need to use that data anywhere and once a test is complete and the result is sent to the individual, the sample is thrown away.”

Feldman says the saliva test has a much lower risk of returning a false positive or negative, meaning you can depend on the results.

Vault Health has already sent out about 8,000 kits to West Virginians.

Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.