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Antigen Testing

Rapid antigen tests can be a helpful tool to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Antigen tests detect the presence of a specific viral antigen, which implies current viral infection.  

  • Most accurate when an individual is most contagious 
  • Not as sensitive as PCR tests, which can detect lower viral loads, so antigen tests are prone to false negatives.

When to Use an Antigen Test

  • To check your health:
    • Before a gathering or before visiting with high-risk individuals. Test as close to the event as possible.
    • After attending a gathering or other higher-risk activity such as travel or being in close contact with others from outside your household. Wait until at least five days after the event to test.
  • To fulfill some travel testing requirements. If an individual program, department, destination, or travel method has specific travel testing requirements, students, faculty, and staff should adhere to those requirements in addition to or instead of an antigen. Note that a proctored test likely will be required to meet these requirements.
  • To test after exposure. Rapid tests are an option for students, faculty, and staff who need to test after exposure when directed to do so.

When Not to Use an Antigen Test 

  • OHIO students, faculty, and staff who experience COVID-19 symptoms or who have a known exposure are expected to follow the OHIO COVID-19 Protocol. Follow the instructions below for use of an antigen test if you are instructed to do so after following the protocol.

How to Use an Antigen Test 

  • Do not open the test kit until you are directed to do so. If the box is open, the test facilitator will not allow you to use it as a proctored test.
  • Read the complete test manufacturer’s instructions before using the test and follow all instructions. 
  • If using a BinaxNOW test, use the NAVICA app for a web-supervised test. You will need your photo ID when you take the test.
  • Instructions for using a BinaxNOW test

Reporting Results of Antigen Tests 

  • Because the University makes BinaxNOW tests available to students, faculty, and staff, individuals who use BinaxNOW tests expected to report their test results using NAVICA. How to use the NAVICA app
  • Students, faculty, and staff who use other antigen tests and receive a positive result should report the test result via the OHIO COVID-19 Protocol

How to Interpret Test Results 

  • Students, faculty, and staff who test positive on any kind of COVID-19 test should follow all the steps in the OHIO COVID-19 Protocol, which will include isolation.  
  • Any OHIO student, faculty, or staff member with a negative antigen test result who is experiencing symptoms or who has had a known exposure should follow the OHIO COVID-19 Protocol. 
  • Follow instructions on package inserts or from web-based test proctors for interpreting results of antigen tests. 
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer guidelines for using self-tests and interpreting the results

Where to Get Antigen Tests 

  • The University has limited supplies (one per individual per week) of rapid antigen tests for students, faculty and staff.
    • Athens campus: Pick up BinaxNOW tests at the following locations:
      • WellWorks: First floor of Grover Center, room E124, during open hours.  
      • Alden Library: 4th Floor Service Desk, during open hours.
      • Ping Center: Front Desk during open hours.
      • Living Learning Center: Second Floor Desk, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
    • Regional and extension campuses: Pick up BinaxNOW tests up at same locations where Vault Health at-home test kits are available:
      • Chillicothe: Information Desk, Bennett Hall, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
        Contact: Ann Holmes, holmesa1@ohio.edu, 740-774-7222 
      • Eastern: Kits are available in the Student Services Office, Shannon Hall, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
        Contact: Pam Saffell, saffellp@ohio.edu, 740-699-2494 
      • Lancaster: Kits are available in the North Lobby Information Desk, Brasee Hall, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
        Contact: Maryann Lape, lape@ohio.edu, 740-681-3302 
      • Southern: Kits are available in the Student Services Office, Collins Center, from 8 am to 5 pm 
        Contact: Tina Canter, canterc@ohio.edu, 740-533-4611 
      • Zanesville: Kits are available in the Student Services Office, Elson Hall, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  
        Contact: Gail Hayes, hayesg@ohio.edu, 740-588-1434
      • Cleveland: Kits are available in the OU HCOM Cleveland reception area, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
        Primary Contact: Michael See, seem@ohio.edu, 216-295-7516 (please use secondary contact below if you receive an out of office message)
        Secondary Contact: Cleveland IT, 216-295-7905 
      • Dublin Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine: Kits are available in the Dean’s Suite of Medical Education Building 1 (MEB1-350), Monday through Firday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m
        Contact: Brian Thompson, thompsb4@ohio.edu, 614-793-5558 
      • Dublin Integrated Education Center: Contact Melody Lynch to request a kit and arrange a pickup in DEIC 230. 
        Contact: Melody Lynch, lynchm@ohio.edu, 614-793-5634 
  • Pharmacies and other retailers, both in-store and online. 
  • OHIO faculty and staff who are enrolled in the University’s PPO plans have two options for covering the costs of at-home COVID-19 tests, up to eight tests per month per covered family member. 
  • Individuals covered by Medicaid and Medicare also can get tests for free. 
  • Free from the U.S. government. Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order four free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests