Some Va. libraries to offer free, rapid at-home COVID-19 kits

The Virginia Department of Health is partnering with 18 libraries across the state to provide residents free rapid COVID-19 at-home test kits, the agency said Tuesday.

According to a news release, the purpose of the pilot program — which runs through Dec. 31 — is to increase COVID-19 testing, “especially among rural, remote, under-resourced communities and other vulnerable populations.”

A VDH spokeswoman said a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant is being used to fund the program.

“We are pleased to work with public libraries to provide another testing option for our community and to increase accessibility,” Dr. Laurie Forlano, with VDH, said in the release. “Testing continues to be important to stop the spread of COVID-19, particularly as we enter the holiday season when people gather.”

People can pick up the Abbott BinaxNow COVID-19 Antigen Card Home Test from a library, follow the virtual guide at home to take the test and get digital results in 15 minutes.

The kits use a digital platform called eMed, so you’ll need a mobile device or computer to create an account to join a virtual testing session with an assistant who’ll guide you through the process. Then, eMed will report the results to the VDH.

Individuals can request a free test kit from their local library by following the library’s guidelines. Libraries were able to select how many test kits to order, VDH said.

VDH recommends that tests be used within two weeks to avoid expiration.

The full list of libraries currently participating is online and below:

VDH said more libraries can opt in to the program at a later date.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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