To make COVID-19 testing more available, Montgomery County residents can pick up free, rapid at-home test kits at any one of 19 Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) beginning Monday, Jan. 10. The iHealth COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test kits will be available on a first come, first served basis until supplies run out. Residents can receive a maximum of two test kits per person (each containing two tests) per visit.

The tests are recommended for asymptomatic people. People showing symptoms of COVID-19 should NOT go to a library distribution site and should contact their health care provider or make an appointment for a PCR test at one of the many locations providing testing throughout the community.

Library branches distributing kits from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday are:

Library branches distributing kits from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday – Thursday and 2 to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday are:

“Securing these tests, that are currently in great demand, will help our County mitigate community transmission from the Omicron variant surge,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “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.”

The kits being distributed at County libraries were purchased directly by the County and deliveries will be ongoing for as long as supplies last and the Omicron surge continues. So far, the County has ordered nearly two million kits and 500,000 kits have been received so far.

“Rapid home tests for COVID-19 are important public health tools to help control the transmission of the virus and are more important than ever given the current spike in cases we are experiencing in our community,” said Council President Gabe Albornoz, who also serves as chair of the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee. “We encourage our residents to get tested and get boosted, while Council members continue working with County Executive Elrich and our public health and emergency management teams to provide the resources needed to get our community through this latest phase of the pandemic.”

The iHealth Rapid Antigen test is an at-home test that enables a person to collect a specimen which shows whether the person has the nucleocapsid protein antigen from the virus which causes COVID-19. Test results are available in 15 minutes. Rapid test specimens are collected using a nasal swab. A swab is inserted into each nostril, one side at a time, the swab is then rotated around the inside of each nostril, to gather mucous. Detailed instructions on how to perform the self-test are included with each test kit.

In late November 2021, the County received 10,000 rapid test kits from the abbott-binaxnow-test-Kits and those kits were distributed to specific community-based organizations to be used for individuals identified as having an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 or decreased access to available test sites because of their occupation, such as food service workers; their vaccination status or who live in areas of the community with lower vaccination rates; limited access to other testing resources due to access to health care, transportation or work hours; or due to a physical or developmental disability. 

More information is available on the County’s COVID-19 testing page at www.MoCoCOVIDtesting.org.