Rapid COVID at-home test kits to be distributed in parish today

By Jim Wilkerson

A limited number of rapid COVID at-home test kits are now being distributed for free across Lincoln Parish.

The Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office announced in a Facebook post on Tuesday that it was giving out test kits on a first come, first serve basis at the Lincoln Parish Safety Complex on Thursday, Jan. 27, from 9-11 a.m.

Similarly, the City of Grambling is distributing test kits at the same time at Grambling City Hall. Grambling has 100 kits in its possession, while the LPSO has close to 400.

Dr. Joseph Kanter of the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) discussed at-home test kits in a recent press conference.

“The accuracy of your test is related to the quality of your swab,” Kanter said. “It’s not comfortable to get your nose swabbed. But if you just put it up there a fraction of an inch, you’re not going to get enough sample on there to get an accurate test.”

He continued, “It is true that the nasal swabs we do ourselves are not as accurate as, what we call, nasopharyngeal swabs. It’s very uncomfortable. That’s probably the most accurate [test], but people aren’t going to do that to themselves. It’s not practical.”

Ultimately, the at-home test kit is an accuracy-convenience tradeoff. “When you take an at-home test…you more or less accept that it’s a little less accurate than the tests you’re going to get at a hospital by professional administrators,” Kanter said. “But you do add a lot in convenience. It’s a give and take on that.”

Other areas across the state, such as Lafayette, have received kits from the LDH. This comes amid a surge in demand for at-home tests in the wake of the holiday season and after the Biden administration promised each American household four free test kits.

Private chains, such as Walmart and Walgreens, have been having trouble keeping up with the demand for at-home tests.

The United States government is having problems as well. Currently, at-home test kits generally take 7-12 business days to ship after ordering from the COVIDtests.gov website. 

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