Gem State Roundup

Want a free, at-home COVID-19 test? In Idaho, just dial 2-1-1.

By: - June 15, 2021 1:40 pm
The SARS-CoV-2 molecule has a "spike protein" that it uses to hook into and invade certain cells in the body.

The SARS-CoV-2 molecule has a “spike protein” that it uses to hook into and invade certain cells in the body. (Courtesy of the CDC)

Idahoans who may have COVID-19 can now easily request a saliva test kit to use in their home, with results in one to three days.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced Tuesday that it now offers free at-home COVID-19 tests to Idaho residents. Dial 2-1-1 to request them.

The orders require no personal information, other than a name and a mailing address.

“Reliable and widely available testing is a critical part of our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Elke Shaw-Tulloch, administrator of the Division of Public Health, in a news release. “Combined with efforts to increase vaccinations, this important initiative can help to get us back to our usual way of living.”

The state partnered with a company, VAULT, to provide the tests at no cost to patients. The tests are authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, and VAULT offers tests for people with or without COVID-19 symptoms or a known exposure to the coronavirus. The tests are 99% accurate for positive or negative test results, according to the company. (A small fraction of results are inconclusive.)

The tests require a person to collect a saliva sample and mail it to a laboratory, which will report back the test results electronically within 24 to 72 hours. Test results also are reported to Idaho public health departments, as is required for all COVID-19 test results.

Visit, or call 2-1-1 or 800-926-2588, to learn more about the process.

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Audrey Dutton
Audrey Dutton

Audrey Dutton, senior investigative reporter, joined the Idaho Capital Sun after 10 years at the Idaho Statesman. Her favorite topics to cover include health care, business, consumer protection issues and white collar crime. Dutton hails from Twin Falls. She attended college at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and received a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York City. Before coming home to Idaho, Dutton worked as a journalist in Minnesota, New York, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Dutton's work has earned dozens of state, regional and national awards for investigative reporting, health care and business reporting, radio journalism, data visualization and much more. Her resume also includes fellowships from the Association of Health Care Journalists, Idaho Press Club, Idaho Media Initiative and Investigative Reporters and Editors. Dutton also teaches an upper-division journalism course at Boise State University. She resides in Boise with her husband, young daughter and two cats.