More COVID tests available for order

Monitor staff
Published: 12/2/2021 3:22:34 PM

With an earlier supply of at-home COVID-19 tests depleted within a day of being offered to the public, the state unveiled a new partnership that will ship highly accurate tests to the doors of Granite Staters.

The state contracted with Vault Health to supply PCR tests, the gold standard of accurate COVID-19 tests, to tens of thousands of residents. Granite Staters can request tests and find more information about the program at https://learn.vaulthealth.com/nh/.

Vault is expected to supply about 100,000 tests, Gov. Chris Sununu said at a press conference Tuesday. There is no limit on the number of tests available to each household, so long as each person requests a test under their own account. Residents are also able to request more tests after they use up their initial allotment. 

Unlike rapid tests provided to Granite Staters earlier this week, PCR tests do not provide results within minutes. Rather, recipients must collect their saliva under supervision during a video call and send the sample back to the company using a shipping label provided in the package. The tests are shipped to the testing facility via UPS and results are typically provided within 18-24 hours.

Despite their inconvenience, PCR tests are significantly more accurate than their rapid antigen counterparts, which tend to produce false negative results.

Kate Brickman, a spokesperson for Vault Health, said PCR tests also allow the lab to analyze positive samples and decipher which strains of COVID-19 are circulating in the community. Though individuals are not told which strain of the virus they are carrying, Vault Health reports its findings to the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services. This is particularly important as the Omicron variant, classified as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization, creeps into the United States.

The second case of the Omicron variant in the United States was detected by a Vault test in Minnesota Thursday. New Hampshire Epidemiologist Ben Chan said it’s only a matter of time before it begins circulating in New Hampshire.

“It’s important that people understand that we are blind to what’s happening with Omicron if people are using antigen tests,” Brickman said.


Teddy Rosenbluth bio photo

Teddy Rosenbluth is a Report for America corps member covering health care issues for the Concord Monitor since spring 2020. She has covered science and health care for Los Angeles Magazine, the Santa Monica Daily Press and UCLA's Daily Bruin, where she was a health editor and later magazine director. Her investigative reporting has brought her everywhere from the streets of Los Angeles to the hospitals of New Delhi. Her work garnered first place for Best Enterprise News Story from the California Journalism Awards, and she was a national finalist for the Society of Professional Journalists Best Magazine Article. She graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in psychobiology.



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