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State begins distributing, receiving at-home COVID-19 tests

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state has started distributing and receiving at-home test kits for COVID-19.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services spokeswoman Traci DeSalvo says more than 12,000 kits have been ordered and more than 1,600 have been returned as of last week.

“People are ordering a kit and having it on hand for when they’re ready,” she said. “It’s a tool in your medicine cabinet so that if you do become symptomatic or have an exposure to COVID, you have a test ready to go.”

Users collect a saliva sample while a testing supervisor monitors the process via Zoom, Wisconsin Public Radio News reported.

“They need to collect about a tablespoon of your saliva to do that test,” DeSalvo said. “You drop it into a UPS drop box — they have to be returned using UPS — and then those results come back to you by email.”

Gov. Tony Evers’ administration announced in December it had partnered with Vault Medical Services to provide saliva-based tests. The at-home tests will be free if a requestor lacks health insurance coverage. Users send samples back using prepaid labels that come with the kits.

Tests are on offer through the DHS website, and results typically come back 48 to 72 hours later.

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