There are many different types of COVID-19 tests and they are not all equal.

At Home Self Antigen Tests


  •  Useful tool if you or someone in your home is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms 

  • Quick, easy to administer and inexpensive

  • Fast results give ability to isolate and notify contacts more quickly than waiting for a result from a lab


  • Self tests are antigen tests that can identify active infections (timing is best when newly symptomatic). Note: PCR/molecular tests are still the gold standard of tests.  

  • Results not shared with Health Department and need to be self reported to the schools

  • A PCR test within 90 days may yield a positive result when no longer infectious and this may interfere with travel plans if a negative PCR test is required 

A viral test  tells you if you have a current infection.  There are different kinds of viral tests for diagnosing COVID-19. Molecular tests (also known as PCR tests) detect genetic material from the virus. Antigen tests detect proteins from the virus. Antigen tests are very specific for the virus, but are not as sensitive as molecular tests.

An antibody test might tell you if you had a past infection. An antibody test might not show if you have a current infection because it can take 1–3 weeks after infection for your body to make antibodies. (At this time, most people do not need antibody tests and they should not be used to guide decisions on whether to stop isolation or return to work. Currently, there is no proof that antibodies in your blood means that you are immune from further infection with COVID-19.)