BUFFALO, N.Y. — Infectious disease specialists are urging people to report their positive over-the-counter COVID-19 test results.

“Home tests can be very helpful when there are family or social gatherings, and if someone is not optimally protected via vaccination or a booster,” said Dr. Thomas Russo, professor and chief of the Division of Infectious Disease at University at Buffalo. “If it’s positive, many individuals are not reporting or do not realize that that positive result should be reported. And as a result, probably cases that are diagnosed with a home test are being underreported at this time.”

What You Need To Know

  • Infectious disease specialists are urging people to report positive at-home COVID test results to their doctors

  • This helps track the spread of the virus and monitor symptoms for patients

  • A lack of reporting can lead to inaccurate COVID tracking data

Russo said the underreporting can make it more difficult to accurately assess how communities are experiencing the pandemic, but he said the home test kit is helpful nonetheless.

“People have symptoms and they can rapidly test and determine they’re positive, then they can go ahead and isolate and that’s going to help break the transmission chain.”    

He added that calling your doctor and informing them of your positive test results can ensure your health is monitored by professionals.

As Christmas approaches, Russo said people should take all steps possible to protect one another during their holiday gatherings.

“The combination of making sure everyone is vaccinated, and if you package that together with testing, is one means to make your family or social gatherings as safe as possible.”

Russo said positivity rates continue to be crucial in gauging the severity of the pandemic, even with the gaps that can come from at-home testing.