AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches its third year in the Texas Panhandle, the virus, as well as its numerous variants, have continued to impact residents since March 2020, ranging from the variants which originated from Great Britain and South Africa to the Delta and the Omicron variants.

However, as the more contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19 impacts people throughout the Texas Panhandle and throughout the United States, more and more people are wanting to have access to tests, including a PCR test through a lab or a genetic test. When they are available, individuals have also been able to purchase at-home rapid antigen tests through drug stores and other entities.

According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, national medical officials have said that widespread use of at-home tests could skew COVID-19 data with the results of the tests not being reported to local health officials and public health departments.

As of Monday (Jan. 17) afternoon, the city of Amarillo’s public health department has reported a total of 508,465 COVID-19 tests reported since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, of which 18 are pending through the city’s drive-through testing operation, according to the COVID-19 dashboard on the Amarillo Alerts webpage.

However, the city is giving residents the ability to report the results of their at-home COVID-19 tests, something which could increase the total number of tests for both Potter and Randall counties.

The Amarillo Public Health Department recently released information about how individuals can report results from an at-home COVID-19 test. A document featured on the Amarillo Alerts website outlines the steps individuals should take to report a positive result from a home COVID-19 test.

  1. Individuals should write down their first and last name, date of birth, date of the test and their phone number. Then, individuals should take a picture of the test and the information and send it to reportcovid19@amarillo.gov;
  2. After emailing the information, a representative from the city of Amarillo’s public health department will respond to the email with further instructions and an at-home intake form;
  3. After completing the intake form, a representative from the city of Amarillo’s public health department will call the individual to complete the process.

“Due to the influx of cases, turn-around time is extended,” the document read. “We are working hard to keep Amarillo safe. Your patience is appreciated.”

For more information about the city’s public health department, visit its website.