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'It was really gnarly' | At-home tests more popular as COVID-19 cases surge

Audra Harrison said it started with a fever. Once she lost her sense of taste, she knew she was likely positive for COVID-19.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — A Greensboro woman is spending most of the first few days free from quarantine, still at home, after testing positive for COVID-19. 

Audra Harrison said she didn't think much of the stuffy nose she had in mid-December with the weather that comes with North Carolina. A few days later, that all started to change. 

"Saturday the 18th, got up at 2 a.m. and I was never so sick. There was nothing in my body and I was still getting sick," Harrison said. 

Harrison said she had a fever that ranged between 101 and 102 Saturday. 

"Fever, sweats, couldn’t keep anything down. It was really, really gnarly. My mom called and checked on me she was like, 'Are you OK?'" Harrison said. 

Sunday, when Harrison got her fever to break, she decided to try and get food in her stomach. 

"Took a bite and couldn't taste it. I was literally.. 'oh, crap' is what popped through my brain," she said. 

Audra called her doctor, went and got tested, and by the time she got home, her test results read positive. 

Audra received her two-dose Moderna series back in the Spring. She was planning on getting her booster shot, but then contracted the virus. 

Vaccinated or not, it's the reality many are facing, nearly two years into the pandemic. Now, at-home COVID-19 tests are becoming more popular. 

Pharmacies across Greensboro were sold out before Christmas, with no idea when they would get more in stock. LabCorp announced it's not taking COVID-19 home collection kit orders through Sunday, Jan. 2 to meet customer expectations during limited holiday shipping delivery windows. 

But at a time when these tests are so popular for comfort and convenience and cases rising across the board, not all positives may be accounted for.

Rockingham County Health Director Trey Wright said not all at-home COVID-19 test results are reported to the state. 

Wright said some brands, like Ellume, make users download an app to use the test, give you instructions on how to use it, then it sends your test result and other information to health officials. 

Other brands, like BinaxNOW and QuickVue at-home test, advise users on the websites to notify healthcare providers of the results of your test. 

Wright said he recommends that someone who tests positive with an at-home test isolates themselves from others. Wright said if you test negative with an at-home test but show symptoms, it's a good idea to get a follow-up PCR test from a lab.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has a list of at-home tests approved for emergency use authorization on its website. 

Harrison said she decided to get vaccinated and tested because it's what was best for her family, and she's glad she did. 

"I think had I not, knowing how I felt on Friday night into Saturday, it was a little heftier of a flu," she said. "Had I not had the antibodies to fight it off, I know, because I trust vaccines and I trust my doctor, it would’ve been a heck of a lot worse."

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