County Residents Can Now Report Their Rapid, At-Home Test Results on COVID-19 Portal; More Than 200,000 Test Kits Distributed since Jan. 10

by Patrick Herron

For Immediate Release: Friday, January 14, 2022

More than 200,000 rapid at-home COVID-19 test kits have been distributed to Montgomery County residents in the first four days that kits were made available to residents through Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL). Residents who test themselves with a rapid at-home COVID-19 test can now report their results through the County’s self-reporting portal, available in English and Spanish.  Additional language self-reporting will be available soon.

“For us to reduce this current surge in cases, our residents must continue to test and isolate when test results come back positive,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “The availability of rapid take home tests that we are providing to our public and schools assist in these efforts. And this new web portal will allow residents to easily notify our Department of Health and Human Services if they do test positive. The more self-reporting we receive, the more accurate we can be in estimating the amount of community transmission; and that will allow us to strategically target areas to better mitigate these concerning levels of the Omicron variant spreading throughout the community.”

To make COVID-19 testing more available, the County announced last week that rapid at-home test kits would be available to residents. Nineteen MCPL branches serve as distribution sites, with daytime, evening, and weekend hours. There is currently a limit of about 2,000 kits available at each distribution site per day. Updates on availability are posted throughout the day on the Montgomery County Public Libraries website.

The County purchased nearly two million kits and 750,000 kits have been received so far.

In late November 2021, the County received 10,000 rapid test kits from the Maryland Department of Health, and those kits were distributed to specific community-based organizations to be used for individuals identified as having an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 or decreased access to available test sites because of their occupation, such as food service workers; their vaccination status; or who live in areas of the community with lower vaccination rates; limited access to other testing resources due to access to health care, transportation or work hours; or due to a physical or developmental disability.

If your rapid test result was positive, please self-report to the County’s self-reporting portal. Any positive, rapid at-home test result can be reported on the portal.

A positive test means it is highly likely you have COVID-19 and could spread it to others. Even if you have no symptoms and feel good, you should assume you are contagious.

You should self-isolate and wear a mask around others at home for five days or until your symptoms resolve or substantially improve and you no longer have a fever, whichever is longer.

During isolation:

  • You should stay home except to get medical care.
  • Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
  • Avoid using public transportation, ridesharing or taxis.
  • You should continue to wear a mask around others, in all settings, for a total of 10 days.

If your reported test was negative, it likely means you do not have COVID-19 if you took the test while you had symptoms and followed all instructions carefully. However, it is possible for a test to give a negative result for some people who have COVID-19. This is called a false negative. You could also test negative if the specimen was collected too early in your infection. In this case, you could test positive later during your illness.

A negative result does not protect you from future infection. You could be exposed to COVID-19 after the test, become infected, and spread the virus to others. If you develop symptoms after your test, you may need another test to determine if you are infected with the virus.

If your rapid test result comes back negative, but you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should stay home and isolate until your symptoms resolve, regardless of your test results. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is recommended if your symptoms persist, and you have had a negative rapid test. This is especially true if you have had a direct exposure (meaning closer than six feet of an individual for more than 15 minutes) to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. If you are concerned about this, you should schedule PCR testing.

If you are in a health care setting, congregate living (including nursing homes, group homes, and assisted living facilities), a correctional facility, or attend a school, childcare, or college/university, your organization will let you know if you need to isolate for a longer period than this.

If you are ill, contact your health care provider as soon as possible, as you may need additional testing and treatment. Your provider will work with you to determine how best to care for you based on your test results, medical history, and symptoms. Ask your provider if you are eligible for treatment, such as monoclonal antibodies (mAb). Monoclonal antibody treatment is not a cure, but it may lessen symptom severity.  Information on eligibility for free monoclonal antibody treatment and other services is available on Maryland’s COVID link website

You should tell your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. For COVID-19, a close contact is anyone who you were within 6 feet of for a combined total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

To help stop the spread of COVID-19, you should:

  • Wash your hands often,
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick,
  • Cover your nose, mouth, and chin with a mask when around others, and
  • Wear a mask indoors and outdoors ANY time you cannot maintain at least six feet of distance from others.

Visit the County’s COVID-19 website for the latest news and information.

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