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Cold weather could impact results of at-home COVID tests, manufacturers warn

Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 3:44 PM EST
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The free rapid COVID-19 tests from the federal government are starting to be delivered.

There are concerns cold weather could impact the results, so people who live in states with cold temperatures should keep a close watch on their mailboxes to make sure the packages aren’t left in the elements for too long.

The test kits are supposed to be stored between 36 and 86 degrees and warn consumers not to freeze them on the box.

The rapid tests are shipped in a bag surrounded by bubble wrap – likely not to keep it warm.

Health officials say the tests will be fine if they’re sitting in a frigid mailbox for a few hours, but some manufacturers warn that any extended time spent in extreme cold or heat could impact the test results.

“The cold weather can absolutely have an impact on testing. It leaves a lot of us asking, what should we do with these tests? Particularly if they sit on my porch or my mailbox for period of time,” said Dr. Nathan Ledeboer, medical director of Froedtert & MCW Clinical Labs.

If you can’t get to it right away, one brand recommends you arrange for someone else to retrieve it as soon as possible.

There is liquid in the test kit, and while manufacturers have not indicated if it will freeze, they do want people to let the kit warm up to room temperature before use.

You can check your inbox to get an idea of when to expect the tests to arrive. Tracking numbers have been sent to the email addresses attached to the orders with estimated delivery dates.

Copyright 2022 WCCO via CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.