Don't throw away those COVID-19 at-home tests just yet

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Posted at 1:06 PM, Sep 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-05 14:09:56-04

The federal program providing free COVID-19 tests has ended, as health officials now track a possible winter surge of the virus.

And now, many of those tests sent by the government are expiring.

At-home COVID-19 tests are still very much an important tool in the community's fight against the virus.

“We know there is burnout about COVID, but it’s important about public health and safety,” said Salt Lake County Health Department Gabriel Moreno.

But several boxes in this stash appear to be expired.

Does that mean they can't be used?

“Depending on the brand you purchased or received, there is still a chance you can use without risking a false result,” he said.

Moreno said people with expired tests should go to this FDA website, scroll down -- it takes me to a chart.

It shows me these tests labeled with an Aug. 14 expiration date are good until February 2023.

“Some manufacturers find after time their tests still gave solid results,” Moreno said. “They can request extended expiration dates.”

So why the extension?

Leo Friedman distributes PPE and COVID tests to corporations. He averages about 100,000 tests shipped a month.

He says as the pandemic marched on, manufacturers learned more about the performance of their products.

“They have the data now that shows the solution, the solution you dip your snot into doesn't degrade,” said the IPromo CEO. It's that solution that detects the genetic material of COVID-19.

And expired or not – if a test says you have COVID . . .

“A positive test from an expired test is still a positive,” Moreno said.