PENTWATER TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Some residents across West Michigan picked up free COVID-19 at-home test kits at area libraries this weekend.
Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Home Test were shipped out earlier this week by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
“It’s not the one that tickles your brain,” Director of the Bureau of Infectious Disease Program Joseph Coyle said. “There are a lot of tests out there and we try to procure the tests that are going to be best for the general population and those are definitely the ones that are the least intrusive.”
The Pentwater Township Library began distributing kits on Friday afternoon. It was one of four branches in the region that were selected as a distribution sites.
“It got very busy, very fast,” Library Director Mary Barker said. “Word got out fast.”
There are 17 libraries across the state that are participating in this pilot program. White Cloud Community Library also spent the weekend giving out kits.
The Hart Area Public Library will make tests available to area residents on Monday. The state’s goal is to increase shipments and make other libraries available to distribute kits.
“Our goal is to make this a sustainable project certainly for these individual libraries and we certainly hope to grow it from there too,” Coyle said.
According to the health department, each site received test kits that include one test. Additional kits will be shipped to these sites as needed.
Because this is a trial run, the health department won’t be able to meet the needs of everyone right now and more libraries will be added to the distribution in the coming weeks.
“It’s going to be dependent on the supply of tests that we get and are able to order from the state,” Coyle said.
As Pentwater resident Sarah Combs waits for her online order of test kits to be shipped to her house, she picked up free tests for her household Saturday morning. She estimates her order from Amazon cost between $25 to $50. With the free tests from the library, she can now visit her 92-year-old father-in-law at no cost.
“We feel safer because that’s one of the most important things is to protect him and those who are immunocompromised,” Combs said.
The libraries will be unable to provide any medical instruction or advice. There is a one kit per-person limit or a total of five kits per household. The kits can be picked up on a first come, first serve basis.