Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with a new number for self-reporting test results.
Maryland will hand out 500,000 free at-home COVID-19 test kits to be distributed throughout the state at public libraries and community centers to increase access to rapid testing during the holiday season.
“Testing continues to be one of the most important tools we have to keep people safe, and we have now conducted nearly 15 million tests statewide,” Gov. Larry Hogan said in a news release announcing the program. “By making these at-home test kits available through local health departments, we are giving Marylanders more options and more peace of mind as we head into the holiday season. ”
The Abbot BinaxNOW Ag At-Home COVID-19 test kits, which can be taken at home and deliver results in 15 minutes, will be delivered to local health departments, which will determine how they will be distributed.
In Prince George’s County, for example, the health department plans to provide the test kits at public libraries, federally qualified health centers and other locations.
It’s not yet clear how many test kits each jurisdiction will receive, though a spokesperson for the Maryland Department of Health told WTOP that the kits were distributed in proportion to each county’s population.
“Getting vaccinated and tested remain the two most important actions that Marylanders can take to keep themselves and their loved ones protected against COVID-19,” said Maryland Health Secretary Dennis R. Schrader. “We are committed to accessible, free COVID-19 testing across the state, and these at-home tests kits will augment other state-supported testing initiatives.”
Each kit contains two COVID-19 tests that have been approved for use by one person. If you test positive, you should consider yourself infectious, notify your contacts and seek further medical advice, which could include additional testing.
If you test negative, you should confirm the result by using the second test in the kit to test again at least 36 hours after the first test and within three days.
Either way, Maryland health officials urged residents to report their results.
You can self-report results using the Abbott NAVICA app, website or by calling (833) 637-1594 for support.
Last week, the Anne Arundel County Health Department announced plans to offer free rapid tests at public libraries in the county.
In addition, the Virginia Department of Health said it, too, would offer the same Abbot BinaxNOW rapid tests at 18 public libraries throughout Virginia.
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