Maryland making available 500,000 more at-home COVID tests

Maryland will make an additional 500,000 at-home COVID-19 test kits available to residents through a new statewide initiative.

The Abbott BinaxNOW Ag at-home COVID-19 test kits have started to arrive in the state, Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday. The Maryland Department of Health is distributing them to local health departments to place them at designated locations where they will be given out for free.

The distribution comes as coronavirus cases are climbing amid the holiday season. At the start of the month, Maryland was reporting 11.83 coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents, health department data shows. That rate has increased to 15.74 cases per 100,000 residents as of Tuesday.

“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,” said Mr. Hogan. “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. Of course, the single most important thing you can do, if you haven’t already, is get vaccinated or get your booster shot.”

Residents can get at-home tests while supplies last at their local public library or at two community food pantries, Aaron’s Place and Giving Grace, in Caroline County. In Prince George’s County, public libraries and local federally qualified health centers also will distribute test kits.

The at-home test kits contain two COVID-19 tests that are approved to be used by one person. The tests are to be used at least 36 hours apart, but within three days of each other. The tests are self-administered, and results are available in 15 minutes.

Those who test positive for COVID-19 should consider themselves infectious, alert their contacts and seek more medical advice, which could lead to additional testing. Individuals are recommended to report their test results, whether positive or negative. People who test negative should confirm the result by taking a second test in the kit at least 36 hours after the first test.

Anyone can self-report results using the Abbott NAVICA app, website, or by calling 1-855-634-6829.

Lab-based PCR testing is still widely available across the state. Visit covidtest.maryland.gov to find a testing site. To find a vaccine clinic, visit covidvax.maryland.gov.

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