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Government/Politics

It's still hard to find rapid COVID test kits at Ohio's libraries

"No COVID tests" sign in parking lot of Powell Library
Jo Ingles
/
Statehouse News Bureau
"No COVID TESTS" sign in parking lot of Powell Library

Libraries that had been handing out free antigen tests in December are finding it's hard to stock them now.

Ohio continues to see some of the highest COVID case rates during this pandemic. Most of Ohio’s libraries have been without COVID tests since before Christmas, as those test kits have been in short supply.

The Ohio Library Council’s Michelle Francis says she’s unsure when libraries will get more of the at-home rapid COVID test kits.

“We continue to have conversations with the Ohio Dept of Health. It’s a work in progress but I don’t have any updates at this time,” Francis says.

Francis says Ohio’s libraries handed out more than 583,000 test kits between December 1 and December 23. Since that time, test kits have been hard to come by. There are mass testing sites with PCR tests administered by medical professionals, and Gov. Mike DeWine says there will be more of those in the future.

The federal government is ramping up efforts to make 500 million rapid tests available nationwide later this month, free of charge. In the meantime, Ohioans who need a COVID test and can't find one might be able to get a PCR test through pharmacies, medical clinics, health departments, and doctors' offices. But hospitals are telling people looking for tests to stay away from overcrowded emergency rooms unless they have symptoms that need immediate attention.

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