VDH partners with local libraries to distribute COVID-19 rapid at-home tests


RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Department of Health is partnering with 18 library and library systems to distribute COVID-19 rapid antigen at-home test kits at no cost.

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

The pilot program, running through Dec. 31, will allow people to pick up an Abbott BinaxNow COVID-19 Antigen Card Home Test from the library and take the test at home. The test results should be available in 15 minutes.

Health officials hope the program will increase access to COVID-19 testing in rural, remote and under-resourced communities.

“In rural communities, sometimes the access to a health care provider or a pharmacy might be quite the drive and just a disincentive to seeking testing, so those libraries may be closer to those community members who may be less mobile,” said Forlano. “Libraries are fairly universal, they’re typically located in pretty accessible geographic locations for community members, like bus lines or walkable in some communities to certain neighborhoods, so we liked that accessibility.”

Users will need a mobile device or computer to create an account that will connect them to a virtual testing session with an eMed assistant who will guide them through the process.

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

Forlano also recommends getting tested before the holidays, depending on whom you may see. She said, “If you’re spending time with people who are more vulnerable, maybe immunocompromised, it might be a good idea to test yourself before you’re around those people.”

The following libraries are participating in the program:

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