by Kim Ladd, RN, BS, CPHQ, CDCES
Currently, many urgent care centers, pharmacy clinics, hospitals, health departments, and doctor’s offices can provide either in-person or drive-up COVID-19 testing. Unfortunately, these are not good options if you cannot drive or have no viable transportation options. Thankfully, there is now another option. LabCorp has developed an at-home COVID-19 testing option called Pixel by LabCorp.
Getting Started with Pixel
Pixel by LabCorp is a nasal swab test that you perform at home. To get started, you must set up an account on the Pixel LabCorp website, which has informative videos in English and Spanish on how to test yourself.
Steps to Take
- The first step is to answer screening questions that include defining the severity of your symptoms as either none, mild or severe.
- You are then asked if you have been exposed to COVID-19 within the past 2 weeks. This algorithm considers you as exposed if you work or live in a congregate setting, if you have been in close contact with someone that tested positive, or if you have been recommended for testing by a healthcare provider.
- The next screening question is to answer whether or not you are considered high risk due to an age of 65 years or older, the presence of chronic conditions that increase your risk (such as diabetes, heart disease or kidney failure), obesity, a neurological condition that affects your ability to cough, pregnancy, immune-compromised, or a chronic tobacco/ nicotine user.
- If your answers to the screening questions meet the established criteria for testing, then you are directed to the next step, which involves entering your health insurance information and creating a Pixel by LabCorp account. If you do not have health insurance, then you can self-pay $119. There is a disclaimer on this page that due to Federal legislation in March 2020, upfront payment is not required to get the test.
Note: Due to the current surge in COVID-19 cases, the at-home testing kits are currently reserved for individuals experiencing symptoms or those who have been recommended for testing by a healthcare provider, public health department, or contact investigator.
Delivery to Your Home
After your Pixel by LabCorp account is set up, the test kit is delivered to your home by FedEx within 24 hours, in most cases. The kit comes in a box that includes written testing instructions, written instructions on how to schedule at-home pickup of your package, a prepaid and pre-addressed FedEx return envelope, a small biohazard bag that contains a test tube filled with fluid, and a testing swab.
Performing the Test
Performing the test is relatively easy. After you wash your hands, you use the testing swab to collect a sample from each nostril, place the swab into the test tube and then secure the test tube into the small biohazard bag. The most difficult part of the process is following the written instructions to schedule pickup of the test. The written instructions are very specific and require visual assistance or help from Aira (an app-based service that provides sighted assistance remotely) or low-vision devices in order to read them, as the font is very small and not available in an accessible format. The instructions inform you to call a specific FedEx phone number and answer several questions a certain way in order to be transferred to the correct person to schedule pickup.
Registering Test and Getting Results
After scheduling pickup you register your test on the Pixel by LabCorp account you created and prepare your sample for shipping by placing the sample in the box and placing the box into the return envelope and sealing it. FedEx picks up the sample from your house the same day and you receive an email when this occurs. You also receive emails when LabCorp receives your testing kit, when it is being tested and what your results are. It takes about 3 days to get your testing results.
If you have the ability to maneuver through the website and read the written instructions with assistance, then the Pixel by LabCorp COVID-19 testing kit is a great option if you qualify for the test. I tried it myself and it worked well.
Additional Resources Related to COVID-19
Georgia Tech Center for Design and Innovation