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COVID-19 At-Home Testing

Check the expiration date of the collection tube in the box prior to collecting your sample. If the collection tube is expired, request a new kit before collection.

What to do with an expired test kit:
You can do one of the following:
1. Recycle or throw away the paper and cardboard. Take the plastic saliva tube to a regional collection center site. Find a site here.
2. Take the entire kit to one of the State Hygienic Laboratory sites (Coralville, Ankeny, Milford) in Iowa.
3. Call the Test Iowa Call Center at (833) 286-8378 for further guidance.

Yes, the Test Iowa At Home PCR test report will be positive if you test positive for any known variant of COVID-19. A positive test report will tell you if you are positive or negative for COVID-19 but does not specify the variant. The care and treatment for people who test positive for COVID-19 are the same for all variants. The vaccines are also effective against all the variants.

At-home test kits are available at no cost through the Test Iowa at-home program. To receive a free at-home test kit, request one at After requesting a test kit, it will be sent to you. You can also pick one up from a nearby location. Home test kits can also be purchased at various retailers.

Refer to the instructions included in the at-home test kit.

Anyone who lives in Iowa is eligible to receive an at-home test kit at no cost.

Results should be sent to you via the email you provided when you activated your kit within 24-72 hours after your test kit is received at the State Hygienic Laboratory. At times of high demand, results could take longer. If you have not received your results within that time frame, please check your "Spam" or "Junk" folders. If you have checked your email folders and do not have your results, please call 1-833-286-8378.

You will receive an email notifying you that your results are available on the patient portal. This email will be sent to the email you provided when you activated your test kit. You will receive your access code in an email separately from the email you receive notifying you your results are ready to view.

After collection, the sample will need to be shipped or picked up as soon as possible.

The laboratory is not open for testing over the weekends and University holidays. Testing will resume the following business day (Mon-Fri).  You can drop off a kit in the drop box at the Coralville laboratory location 7 days a week.

If you have a positive test result, you should contact your healthcare provider. Additional resources on how to take care of yourself if you test positive for COVID-19 can be found on the CDC website.

If your test kit is damaged, order another test kit on

Please call 1-833-286-8378 if you have any questions.

Test kits should be received from UPS within a week after placing the order. During times of high demand, please allow additional time for kits to be shipped to your home. If you have questions, please call 1-833-286-8378 (see call center hours below).

Yes, your test results and personal information are confidential and protected.

Your test kit should be received at the laboratory within 3 days of sending it back. Once received, the test will be processed. Your test results will be communicated to you through the email you provided when you activated your test kit. You should receive your test results about 24-72 hours after received at SHL. At times of high demand, results could take longer.

Yes. The test kit must be activated with the information for the person providing the sample.

Do not eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum for 30 minutes before giving your saliva sample.

There are no age restrictions.

Yes. Test kits may be requested on behalf of other people. Information about the person submitting the sample is provided at the time the test kit is activated.

You are not able to track your kit that is being shipped to you. Once you get your kit you are able to track your kit if you ship it via UPS. Keep the bottom half of the UPS label (i.e. "customer receipt"). A tracking number is in the bottom right-hand corner and can be used to track your test kit when sending it back.

Individuals who want to pick up a test kit will not need to pre-register and will be able to arrive when the pick-up site is open to obtain a test kit. Individuals picking up a test kit are encouraged to check with the pick-up site to determine hours of test kit availability.

Instructions provided in the test kit are in English and Spanish.

A return shipping label will be provided in the kit.

Additional resources:

Contact the call center:

Hours of operation

Monday-Friday: 8AM to 5PM
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed