Montgomery County, Maryland, will hand out free rapid at-home COVID-19 test kits at several public libraries starting next week.
The antigen tests, which deliver results in 15 minutes, are expected to greatly expand the county’s testing capacity as it faces a surge in COVID cases driven by the omicron variant.
A total of 19 libraries will distribute the tests to county residents, with various hours starting Jan. 10. Some libraries will hand out tests specifically in the evening hours.
Test kits are available on a first-come, first-served basis until kits run out. Residents are limited to two test kits per visit. Each test kit contains two tests. Those looking to get tests will need to bring an ID or a bill proving they are a Montgomery County resident.
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In a news release, the county said people showing symptoms of COVID-19 should not go to the library sites and should instead get a PCR test at a county-run testing clinic.
The rapid test kits, which are distributed by a company called iHealth, were recently acquired by the county.
The same company supplies the test kits handed out at D.C. Public Library branches. Montgomery County officials said earlier this week that D.C. officials helped the county identify iHealth as a possible supplier. Overall, the county has ordered nearly 2 million of the test kits, which are in short supply in many places throughout the United States. The county has acquired about 500,000 test kits so far.
“Securing these tests, that are currently in great demand, will help our County mitigate community transmission from the Omicron variant surge,” County Executive Marc Elrich said in a news release. “We appreciate the District of Columbia assisting us and thank our procurement team for their diligence to track down and acquire these tests. We are going to make sure these tests will be given out equitably and fairly throughout the community.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said earlier this week he is using special emergency procurement powers to acquire more rapid COVID-19 tests.
Below are the Montgomery County Public Library branches distributing rapid COVID-19 test kits: