HONOLULU (KHON2) — At-home antigen tests from the federal government are the newest tool in the fight against COVID-19 and they are a lot easier to use than previous types.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green said, it is just a 15-second swab in each nostril.

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“The goal then, is to get a very good sample,” Lt. Gov. Green said. “So usually it’s a 15-second swab in one nostril and then in the other nostril, and then you put it into the solvent.”

Once you swab both nostrils and put it in the solvent, follow the directions to see how to drip the solution on the testing unit. Check the results after 15 minutes — or however long the instructions call for.

One control line means negative while two lines means the sample is positive.

The Department of Health recommends these tests if a person is symptomatic or if they are a close contact to someone who is positive. The at-home results do not need to be confirmed through a PCR test, according to the DOH.

“If you’re pretty sure, ‘oh my goodness, I think I’ve got COVID,’ And then you take a home test and it tells you you do have COVID, you don’t have to go seek a confirmatory test through your health care provider.

Brooks Baehr, Hawaii Department of Health spokesperson

Green said, these tests are about 90% effective and have a shelf life of three to six months. They are not as reliable for those who are asymptomatic, so doing a follow up at-home test the next day is a good idea.

“They’re very easy to use, they’re not uncomfortable. They’re not a cure all, the cure all is really to be vaccinated and boosted. But that’s the best approach to prevent getting super sick, but at least this will tell you whether or not you have to worry about having COVID.”

Lt. Gov. Josh Green

Each order comes with four testing units and every American household is eligible to claim a pack.

The United States Postal Service confirmed with KHON2 that a small percentage of orders to multi-unit buildings — like townhomes and condos — are experiencing difficulties. Residents with an invalid address message can click here to fill out a USPS service request.

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Click here to order free, at-home COVID-19 tests.