At-Home COVID Testing When You’re Visually Impaired

Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash. person with gloved hands taking swab from package

by Kim Ladd, RN, BS, CPHQ, CDCES

Many urgent care centers, pharmacy clinics, hospitals, health departments, and doctor’s offices can provide 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

  1. The first step is to answer screening questions that include defining the severity of your symptoms as either none, mild or severe.
  2. You are then asked if you have been exposed to COVID-19 within the past two 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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, you can self-pay for $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, instructions on how to schedule a home pickup of your package, a prepaid and pre-addressed FedEx return envelope, a small biohazard bag containing 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 challenging part of the process is following the written instructions to schedule a 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 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 to be transferred to the correct person to schedule a pickup.

Registering Test and Getting Results

After scheduling a 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 your results. It takes about three days to get your testing results.

If you can maneuver through the website and read the written instructions with assistance, then the Pixel by LabCorp COVID-19 testing kit is an excellent option if you qualify for the test. I tried it myself, and it worked well.

Georgia Tech Center for Design and Innovation