Free at-home COVID-19 tests available for New Mexicans

Coronavirus New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced on Tuesday that New Mexicans can now order free, at-home COVID-19 self-administered saliva tests. According to a news release the free tests are available to all New Mexico residents– whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic, and whether they have come into close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 positive individual or not.

People order the free saliva test online and it is sent to them via expedited shipping. The tests cannot be shipped to a P.O. box. Then, people hop on a Zoom call with a test supervisor to guide them through taking the test. Without eating, drinking, or smoking 30 minutes before taking the test, people provide enough saliva to meet the required line in the provided tube. People then secure the sample with a cap that also holds a blue solution. Then, patients pack the sample back up and send it to the lab. According to a news release from the governor’s office, the results should be available for the patient within 24 to 48 hours.

“We need more New Mexicans to get tested,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham in a news release. “We’ve worked hard every single day this year to make testing fast, easy and accessible to everyone. We ensured, from the very start, that cost would not be an obstacle for New Mexicans needing a COVID-19 test. And right now testing is one of the best ways to get New Mexico from ‘red’ to ‘green.’ We can drive down county positivity rates, help more businesses and workers get safely back on their feet, and keep more New Mexicans healthy. But it all starts with you, and it starts with getting a test. This is a very, very promising development.”

People requesting a test will be required to share basic identifying information, like a date of birth, phone number and name. Individuals will also be asked for insurance information, but the testing will not cost New Mexicans anything. People will need access to the video-conferencing platfoorm Zoom, a photo ID, and an email address to complete the test.

According to Vault Health’s website, 98% of tests come back with a positive or negative result and about 1% of results are a false positive or a false negative. The website also states that about 1% of results come back inconclusive, in which case the test cannot determine whether the virus is detected. If this happens, the company suggests ordering another test.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Dr. Tracy Collins with the Department of Health said the state has unlimited access to the tests. The state hopes this helps New Mexico reach about 20,000 COVID-19 tests a day.

There was an early glitch on the Vault website asking for credit card information and charged over $100 for the tests, but officials said the problem was corrected.

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