A digital health Texas-based company is rolling out an at-home testing kit for coronavirus starting next week.
Everlywell, which offers a variety of at-home lab tests for everything from vitamin deficiency to cholesterol levels to fertility, will make the kit available on March 23.
After the delay in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention getting tests out – and concerns that even an asymptomatic person can spread the disease – the company says its kits will help diagnose more cases.
In the US, there are are more than 14,000 confirmed cases across all 50 states and 211 deaths.
Everlywell, a Texas-based company that offers lab tests directly to consumers, is rolling out an at-home coronavirus test on Monday (pictured)
Users have to fill out questions about their symptoms online, and the test is then prescribed by a doctor. Pictured: Nurse Susan Cologar takes a swab sample from someone at a coroanvirus testing location in Jacksonville, Florida, March 19
The kit, which costs $135, comes with swab for samples to be taken of the nose and throat and shipped to a lab. Pictured: James Meenan, director of Virginia Hospital Center outpatient lab, gives directions to patient at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site in Virginia, March 19
According to Everlywell, users have to answer questions online about whether or not they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Then it has to be prescribed by a doctor. In this case, doctors from PWNHealth – a telemedicine company – review the symptoms and determine if the person qualifies for a test.
Because there has been a shortage of tests available in the US, healthcare workers have to rule out other viruses first, such as the flu.
If a physician decides to prescribe the Everlywell test, users pay $135 to receive the test kit in two days – or pay $165 to receive it overnight.
The company says it receives no profit from the tests, and that they can be covered by participating insurance providers.
Each kit comes with swabs so samples can be taken from the nose and throat, as well as instructions on how to seal the sample and return it.
Users collect the samples themselves and send them in a pre-paid overnight package to an FDA-approved lab with results available within 48 hours.
Everlywell says results will be sent to consumers via text and email.
If a test comes back positive, users will be offered a telemedicine consultation at no additional cost.
They warn that any physician will be required to report a positive case to the state health department where the user lives.
Results of the at-home test come back within 48 hours and are delivered via text and email. Pictured: A patient wears a protective face mask as she is loaded into an ambulance at The Brooklyn Hospital Center emergency room in New York, March 18
The company says 30,000 tests will be available starting Monday and that it hopes to be able to soon diagnose as many as 250,000 people each week.
‘Everlywell was founded to give people affordable, convenient access to lab testing. Never has our mission been more important,’ Julia Cheek, founder and CEO of Everlywell, said in a statement.
‘Our team has been working around the clock with top scientists and laboratories in the nation to develop a test that we will make available at the lowest price possible while covering our costs, at no profit to the company.
‘We have also reached out to government and public health officials to explore possibilities to provide it for free.’
The number of coronavirus cases in the US has dramatically increased in the last two weeks
Coronavirus testing shame: NBA stars, celebrities, politicians and billionaires with NO symptoms can access COVID-19 tests while sick members of public are turned away due to ‘shortages’
The dire shortage of coronavirus tests in the United States and across the world, which is slowing down crucial diagnoses and leaving many wondering if they have the virus or not, has prompted many to ask how celebrities and entire basketball teams have been able to get their hands on the tests.
In the United States, there are mounting stories of people suffering symptoms of COVID-19 and phoning healthcare hotlines asking to be tested but being refused because they have not come into contact with a known case or been to China recently.
Instead, the advice for those people is to self-isolate for at least 14 days and seek medical help if they develop respiratory problems. It tosses up a range of questions for already terrified Americans.
They do not know if and when they will be able to re-enter society, go to work or see anyone that they consider to be ‘vulnerable’. They also do not know if they ever had the virus or if their symptoms subsiding makes it safe for them to go outside or see anyone.
Idris Elba tested positive for the virus. He got a test despite not showing symptoms because he had been in contact with someone who had it. Kris Jenner reportedly got a test for the same reasons but she tested negative. She has neither confirmed nor denied the report
But celebrities, sports stars and politicians who show no symptoms whatsoever are being able to get access to them by buying them privately.
It is unclear where the are getting them from.
When asked about the disparity at a press conference on Wednesday, President Trump said it was ‘the story of life’.
There are several private labs that are developing tests and many are working with the government to mass produce them and make them available to the public for free.
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were tested in Australia after flying there – they tested positive
Where the tests are coming from that the rich and powerful have paid for remains unknown.
British actor Idris Elba announced to his fans that he has tested positive for the test, despite not showing any symptoms. ‘On Friday, last week, I was told that someone that I had been in contact with had tested positive.
‘And I’m, I’m on location, about to start a film, and the news breaks that this person – who is also in the public eye – had tested positive.
‘It was something that I had to do as I was about to start filming and was around a lot of people.
‘Quite honestly, my job made me test immediately,’ he said.
‘I had to test anyway because it meant putting a lot of people at risk.
‘We got a test immediately – we were really lucky to get a test quickly because of the shortage of tests,’ he said in a video to fans without offering where he got the test or how anyone else might be able to procure the same one.
The person he is thought to have come into contact with is Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, who tested positive for the virus after returning to Canada from London.
How she got a test is also unknown.
Sophie Trudeau, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s wife, tested positive after reporting mild flu symptoms
She has not confirmed whether or not she has been in contact with anyone with else who has the virus or if she had been in China recently. The only symptoms she reported were like those of a mild flu.
Kris Jenner tested negative for the test after attending a birthday party with billionaire Lucian Grainge, who has tested positive for the virus, according to Entertainment Tonight.
Jenner has neither confirmed nor denied the report.
Sports commentator Charles Berkeley said he was waiting for the results of a test too.
‘I haven’t been feeling great and they didn’t want me to take any chances,’ he said earlier this week.
Eight full NBA teams have been tested for coronavirus, despite some of the players not showing symptoms.
Among them was the Brooklyn Nets. Four of their players tested positive, including injured All-Star Kevin Durant. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said it was wasteful for so many of them to get the test.
The team defended itself by saying they bought the tests privately.
Bob Myers, the president of basketball operations for the Golden State Warriors, disagreed with their position.
In a conference call on Wednesday, he said: ‘We’ve been told that the testing is in short supply.
‘We’re not better than anybody, not worse. Just a basketball team.’
Others who do not seem to be having a problem accessing the tests are politicians.
Congressmen Mario Diaz-Balart and Ben McAdams have both tested positive for the virus.
President Donald Trump tested negative for the disease after coming into contact with the Brazilian President – who also tested negative – and one of his aides who tested positive for it last week.
Ivanka Trump was in close contact with an Australian government minister Peter Dutton, who tested positive for the virus.
In the UK, people are paying up to $500 for the tests.
In the US, no one is advertising that they have them. Sources told DailyMail.com that medical concierge service Sollis Health, which members pay $5,000-a-year for, had been offering to come to their homes to test people.
Sollis did not respond to repeated requests for comment on Thursday.