COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–Ohio Department of Health updated how it is distributing rapid antigen tests that were purchased at the beginning of the year.
The total cost in January was $50 million for two million at-home kits. Free kits can be found at 23 local Columbus Metropolitan Libraries.
“We are more than just a home for books,” explained Ben Zenitsky.
Zenitsky says they’ve been working with the Ohio Department of Health to distribute these free at-home kits since the spring.
“We are uniquely positioned to respond to the crisis that is happening all around us. “We have a deep reach within the community people of all ages — walks of life — coming to see us each and every day.”
A spokesperson with ODH says so far approximately 652 thousand of the 2 million kits have been distributed to various agencies.
ODH said they’re making the tests available at local health departments, libraries, universities, and schools.
“We are incredibly fortunate we have 5 thousand of the rapid test kits on hand,” said Superintendent Dr. John Marschhausen during a school town hall. “We are in the process of getting additional rapid test kits from the Ohio Department of Health and those will be available through our school clinics.”
The demand for these kits is on the rise according to Zentisky. He said people are looking for these kits now more than ever, especially with school starting and summer winding down.
“Typically, our 23 locations have been giving away about 100 to 200 each week. Last week we gave away 700. So we’re certainly seeing a spike in demand. So much of this pandemic has been clouded by uncertainty so I think having a lot like this readily available free for our community is something that’s bringing some people a good bit of peace of mind.”
Zenitsky said if you have symptoms and want a test, please ask a friend to pick one up for you.
Ohio Department of Health said it is well-positioned in its testing supply and intends to continue making testing easy to access as long as necessary.