COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Tens of thousands at-home rapid COVID-19 test kits are now in the hands of families across central Ohio.

Columbus Public Health (CPH) gave out more than 10,000 over the weekend, Franklin County Public Health (FCPH) gave out 16,000 kits in less than an hour on Monday, and people are buying them.

“Those at home tests are a hot commodity right now,” said Dr. Mysheika Roberts, Health Commissioner at CPH.  Doctors have been encouraging people to get tested before their holiday gatherings. As for how long before, they say there is a best and most effective time. 

“In the context of getting together for a holiday celebration, consider doing a rapid home antigen test right before you get together,” said Dr. Joseph Gastaldo, an infectious disease specialist with OhioHealth. “It’s a snapshot in time and it’s really a good test to let you know if you are contagious.”

Both Dr. Gastaldo and Dr. Roberts say you should take the tests as close as possible to when your get together is starting. 

“If you’re having people over at your house at noon on Christmas day, I would encourage everyone to test sometime around nine that morning,” said Dr. Roberts. “Not the day before, the day of, and preferably within a two to three hour window of the time you’re gathering.”

Dr. Roberts expects CPH will have more take home test kits available in early January.  Eric Halperin