Michigan You Can Now Get A Free At-Home PCR Test For Covid-19 At Your Local Meijer
On January 3, 2022, I wrote a piece about the difficult journey my wife and I had in finding a Covid-19 test during the last holidays.
Then on January 11, 2022, I wrote another piece warning people of the fake Covid-19 tests being sold online and what you should do to avoid those fake tests.
On January 19, 2022, I wrote another piece about doctors, pharmacists and scientists that state the rapid tests the government is sending out to anyone who requests them may not be accurate enough to really help. We are now being told that a negative test result for Covid-19 might not actually mean you do not have Covid-19.
You can avoid all of these problems by making an appointment at your local Meijer pharmacy. Meijer’s just announced, via a press release, that they will be the first retailer to offer at-home Covid-19 PCR tests free of charge to you, at all of their 254 pharmacies. These PCR tests are the gold standard of Covid-19 testing. The PCR test looks for the virus particles whereas the at-home tests look for the antigen. The World Health Organization’s Dr. Hanan Balkhy states that:
the PCR testing…look for the genetic material of the virus itself. The second type of testing is when they try to identify one of the outer proteins of the viral shell or envelope, if you will. And that's called antigen testing. So, they try to detect the outer protein of the virus. And the third type is to detect within the human body, whether they’ve developed antibodies. So, it looks for antibodies that are specific to the outer portion of the virus itself. So, it shows whether the individual has mounted an immune response or developed immunity towards that specific virus or to COVID. So, those are the three big categories of testing that exist.
Dr. Balkhy went on to say “The PCR testing, which is the NAAT testing or that tests the nucleic acid of the virus itself, are the most sensitive ones. And those, actually, to complete the testing process, they need to be done in quite a sophisticated laboratory setting. And, that's why the turnaround time for these tests can take several days". She then added that the tests that “look for the antigen on the outer surface of the virus itself…are not as accurate as the PCR testing, but they have a very important value as one of the tools to address the COVID pandemic”.
To get your free PCR test for Covid-19 you must register at www.ineedacovid19test.com, complete an online assessment and choose the Meijer Pharmacy you will receive your test at. When that is completed, you will be provided a voucher you can print off or show on your smartphone to pick up your test. Once you receive your kit according to Meijer’s press release:
After performing the self-collection nasal swab, individuals will return the specimen in the specimen bag to the same Meijer pharmacy where they received the test kit and deposit it into a clearly designated drop box at the pharmacy. Specimens must be returned the same day they are collected. The specimen will then be shipped to a certified laboratory for a PCR analysis. Test results are expected within 48 to 72 hours. The service is available Monday through Friday.
Although these tests are more accurate you will not get your results for 2 to 3 days. The new CDC guidelines state that if you have contracted the virus you should self-quarantine for 5 days and then if you have no symptoms you no longer have to quarantine but must wear a mask in public for 5 days.
The best course of action appears to be to use your at-home antigen Covid-19 tests provided by the federal government and if you test positive register online with your local Meijer Pharmacy to get your free federal government-provided PCR tests. That could possibly end your self-quarantine time by 2 to 3 days.