With most of Los Angeles’ professional sports teams currently playing and the holidays nearing, LA County health officials say FDA-approved rapid tests could be used as an extra layer of protection.

The county is still seeing substantial transmission and health officials are asking community members to remain vigilant to avoid a devastating winter surge.

“I think it’s a personal choice, but rapid tests…make sure you’re using one that’s approved by the FDA. I think we have an important role to play as we’re going to be doing a lot more gathering,” Director Barbara Ferrer said. “And we still have a large number of children that will be unvaccinated so yes, I think adding layers you know, I’m a big believer in adding in those layers that are appropriate to create as much safety as possible.”

This month, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the ACON Laboratories Flowflex COVID-19 Home Test, an over-the-counter (OTC) COVID-19 antigen test, which adds to the growing list of tests that can be used at home without a prescription.

It is also important to test yourself as close to the event or gathering as possible, but health officials cautioned not to wait for results inside venues or homes.

“You’re negative at the point you tested the closer you are to the point and tested, the better off you are at, you know, knowing that as you’re walking in the door you’re negative. I mean, many of us who have gone to events where even if you’re vaccinated is required that you have a negative test prior to going into an indoor setting, have actually done the testing right facility entered because obviously that’s the closest interval that you’re going to get to entering in to a specific event so yes there’s, there’s nothing wrong with, you know, testing, right before you go in,” Ferrer said. “I just want to caution people that it does take a few minutes to get the test results. We have had situations where people have tested themselves and then waited indoors, you know, at their party, or at events for their test results and that’s actually not a coping strategy at all. So if you’re testing right before you go, please wait until you get your test results, make sure you’re negative before you enter into the event.”

Since March 2020, the FDA has authorized more than 400 COVID-19 tests and sample collection devices, including authorizations for rapid, OTC at-home tests.

According to the FDA, all tests can experience false negative and false positive results. Individuals with positive results should self-isolate and seek additional care from their health care provider.

Individuals who test negative and experience COVID-like symptoms should follow up with their health care provider as negative results do not rule out a COVID-19 infection.

For more information on rapid tests that are FDA approved visit: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-authorizes-additional-otc-home-test-increase-access-rapid-testing