State sending free at-home COVID-19 tests to some libraries

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The state health department announced Tuesday that it is expanding testing resources by distributing free at-home rapid tests to select libraries across the state.

The program was announced during the state’s COVID-19 briefing Tuesday. The participating libraries in West Michigan include Hesperia, White Cloud, Hart and Pentwater.

The Hart Area Public Library volunteered to be a distribution site, expecting to receive its first shipment of 300 test kits by the end of the week.

“We’re all about providing resources for community and so this is one way that we can do that,” the library’s assistant director Susie Gray said.

The participating libraries will serve as pick-up location only, with the actual testing to be done at home.

“We send the test out the door with them as well as the instructions for how to administer the test,” Gray said.

With every test distributed, the library will fill out a form with information including the person’s name, age and whether they would’ve purchased a test kit if one wasn’t provided to them for free.

State health officials say they will use this information to help better understand the needs of the community.

The program is part of a statewide effort to make COVID-19 tests more available to those who may not have access to one otherwise or are unable to cover the cost.

“MDHHS is interested in getting over-the-counter (OTC) tests into the hands of people that will use them and identifying the appropriate community venues that we can partner with to distribute OTC tests at no cost,” Lynn Sutfin with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement. “Library-based OTC test distribution is a model that has worked in some other states and MDHHS quickly pursued a similar project that supplements our OTC test distribution through the Mi Backpack program and through local Community Action Agencies.”

Program Details and Requirements:

Who can receive a test?

Test may be provided to anyone interested in receiving a free test.

How many tests can one person receive?

Library staff may provide one test per person in a household, up to six people.

Do library staff train individuals on how to use the tests?

No. MDHHS will provide written documentation explaining how to use, when to use and what to do when receiving a positive or negative test result.

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