Virginia health department says reporting at-home COVID-19 test results online could help count cases

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia’s health department promoted a new way for people to report their at-home COVID-19 test results online, implying it would help count cases “more accurately.”

“Want to help Virginia count COVID-19 cases more accurately? Well, now there’s a way to report your at-home COVID-19 test,” the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) tweeted on Dec. 22.

The VDH touted the National Institutes of Health’s “Make My Test Count” online initiative as a way to provide COVID-19 home test results “safely and privately.”

On the project’s website, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) writes that at-home tests give people a quick and convenient way to check if they are infected.

“But if we don’t share our test results, the people who work to keep us safe from this disease won’t know how fast the virus is spreading, or where surges are happening,” the site’s Frequently Asked Questions section reads. “Without that information, they can’t do the work they need to do to keep us and our communities safe.”

Data collected through the initiative is “de-identified” and then shared with the public health systems that get results from doctors’ offices and labs. Researchers working on the project could also receive the data, and NIH says data shared outside the program will be anonymous.

According to the NIH, the project doesn’t require disclosing information such as your name, date of birth or street address. People have to share their age and home ZIP code to take part.

The project is a collaboration between the NIH and CareEvolution, a healthcare technology company that gathers the data collected.