Free At-home COVID-19 PCR Test Kits Available at Multiple Locations, But Which COVID-19 Test is Right for You?     

by Patrick Herron

Per Montgomery County:
Montgomery County residents have several ways to get tested for COVID-19:

  • At-Home Rapid Antigen tests are recommended for those with COVID-19 symptoms. Results are available in 15 minutes. The County continues to provide free at-home rapid test kits at 19 library locations. Residents can pick up two free test kits and results can be reported online. Find information about test kits and where to pick them up at www.MoCoCOVIDTesting.
  • At-Home PCR tests are available at six locations in the community. The self-tests are recommended for individuals with COVID-19 exposure, but who have no symptoms. They can also be used for those who need verified results for travel or work.
  • Pick up a test at one of the six locations, complete the test at home, register online and return to a drop box located outside of each pick up site. If tests are dropped off by 5 p.m., results are typically emailed the next day. Residents may pick up one test kit. Additional information about where to pick up the tests and instructions on using them is available on the County’s website.

In-person PCR testing continues at multiple sites throughout the community. A schedule of testing locations can be found at the County’s website.

The number of new COVID-19 cases has increased in Montgomery for the past several weeks—even among vaccinated individuals.The County’s Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC recommend the following steps to help protect you and slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, including booster-shots
    • Booster shots are the best way to minimize the risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
    • Since January, people 50 and older who were vaccinated, but not boosted, were two to three times more likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19 than those who were fully boosted. (CDC Data).
  • Wear a well-fitting mask around others
    • If you have symptoms, a positive test or exposure to someone with COVID-19.
    • When on public transportation.
    • As an additional precaution to protect yourself and others, during visits to congregate indoor spaces with limited social distancing and ventilation.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms or are exposed
    • Consider rapid or PCR testing after returning from travel or large gatherings.
    • If you have a positive test result, let your recent close contacts know.

If you are high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, wear a mask indoors in public settings. In addition, talk to your healthcare provider about additional precautions and whether you are a candidate for treatments like oral antivirals, PrEP and monoclonal antibodies.

which test is right for me?

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