INVESTIGATES: Only a few at-home COVID-19 tests approved for asymptomatic use

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — After a long Labor Day weekend, COVID-19 testing sites are maxed out in Duval County.

At the Telescope Health site in Neptune Beach, the line of cars extended into the parking lot.

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“I saw a lot of people coming out to get tested which is a good thing,” one resident getting tested in Moncrief said.

For those wanting to avoid the lines, a quick at-home test may be the better option.

However, Action News Jax learned the Clay County Department of Health limits which at-home COVID-19 tests are considered approved, which could impact parents looking to bring their child out of quarantine and back to school.

Parents must follow a specific list of approved versus unapproved COVID-19 tests.

The much longer, unapproved list includes several at-home tests, which includes the popular BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Self Test, which has been given emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.

Action News Jax learned from the Clay County Department of Health that this guidance is specific to asymptomatic students.

While some tests are under emergency approval, some of them are not approved for asymptomatic use.

“So if you have absolutely no symptoms and you take the test and you take the test poorly, you don’t do a good test, chances are it could be negative although you really are positive,” Action News Jax medical expert Dr. Michelle Aquino said.

Dr. Aquino said the extra safety step for students is reasonable.

“I think Clay County is just taking an extra step right now to keep everyone safe and make sure students are truly negative before returning back to school,” Dr. Aquino said.

So, should we stop using at-home testing kits? Dr. Aquino said they still make good screening tools.

“That’s what they’re used for, they’re a significant screening tool for all of us. You’re having symptoms, take the test. You have an idea which way it’s going. If it’s negative, great. You’re still having symptoms a few days later, I would repeat the test again,” Dr. Aquino said.

We also reached out to Duval County. The Department of Health acknowledged this list, but the school district said it had never seen it before.

STORY: Jacksonville COVID-19 testing sites see influx of people after Labor Day weekend

There are a few at-home tests that are approved for asymptomatic use.

You can find the list of approved tests for asymptomatic use here.

The Clay County Schools letter can be found here.