CHICAGO — Many residents are worried about how at-home COVID-19 tests will hold up while in transit amid the freezing temperatures in the Chicago area.

The federal government is in the middle of mailing out millions of free COVID-19 tests to Americans who signed up. They are just starting to arrive in the mail, prompting concern due to sub-zero temperatures recently in the area.

“I can tell you in the laboratory where we work with much more complicated tests, we’re very careful about maintaining the appropriate temperature for all the re-agents so the tests work properly,” Dr. Karen Kaul, Chief Pathologist with Northshore University Health System, said. “The good news with these at-home tests is they are more simple and probably a bit more tolerant to extremes of temperature.”

That said, Dr. Kaul said test manufacturers do specify on kits that they should be above freezing and below 85 degrees. For those getting tested at a drive-through or walk-in site, those specimens get shipped to a lab and should be kept in a temperature-controlled jar.

“The samples should be tolerant to freezing unless the tube cracks,” Dr. Kaul said “They still should be amenable to being analyzed if the tube does crack or the top comes off because of freezing obviously the sample would no longer be good.”

Amanda Hoopingarner hopes the weather does not affect her test results.

“I think it’s not worth the gamble,” Hoopingarner said. “But I also know there are people who appreciate the tests.”

Dr. Kaul said for anyone who receives a test that may have frozen liquid in it to call the information number provided.