COVID-19 home test kits launch in King County

KING COUNTY, Wash. — People in King County are getting the first rounds of at-home test kits for COVID-19. A new group called the Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network is mailing out 300 kits every day – and it isn’t only testing people who are sick.

Todd Stevenson lives in Seattle and said he was experiencing what he would call a “minor cold.” He saw online that SCAN was conducting a study to figure out how widespread COVID-19 is in the community and was testing both healthy and sick people.

He was unsuccessful signing up Monday – SCAN was out – but managed to sign up Tuesday around 6:30 a.m. and said he was surprised to receive the test kit that same day, about 8 p.m.

“There was a package at my front door,” Stevenson said over the phone. Stevenson said he was experiencing symptoms that started out as a runny nose and sore throat and developed into a cough.

The group is made up of researchers from the Seattle Flu Study and Seattle King County Public Health. They are testing sick and healthy people, plus both kids and adults.

“By testing a broad sample of people in different communities, we’ll have a more detailed understanding of where the virus exists and who is being affected. This is important information that can help us learn about the true severity of infection, whether the community measures being taken to reduce its spread are working or need to be adjusted,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer for Public Health - Seattle & King County on the Public Health Insider blog.

Public Health emphasizes that “SCAN is a surveillance program and not a clinical service” and that “it is not a substitute for checking in with your health care provider.”

Stevenson, who is 51 years old, shared photos of his test kit.