Libraries offering free, at-home COVID tests as demand spikes

Both the Dayton Metro Library and Greene County Libraries are preparing to give out another round of at-home COVID tests, as demand for tests is on the rise.

Since February, the Ohio Department of Health has given nearly 160,000 test kits for libraries to provide to their communities. Across the state, 246 libraries provided more than 53,000 tests during the month of August alone.

Local librarians say the demand for these tests is increasing. Earlier this year, the Dayton Metro Library offered to provide rapid at-home testing, but decided against it since there was little need. However, Diane Farrell of Dayton Metro Library said that with the spike in the Delta variant, the library may be out within a day of beginning to offer them.

“These at-home kits are critical, it’s just a matter of getting adequate inventory to meet anticipated demand,” Farrell said.

ExploreNeed a COVID test? Here's where and how to get tested for COVID-19 in the Dayton area

Greene County Public Library has been providing at-home COVID-19 tests since the spring, and has distributed more than 11,000 tests to date. More than half of these were given out in the last month.

“From March through July, we distributed the initial 2,000 we received from ODH,” said Deputy Director Elizabeth Cusack. “We began replenishing weekly beginning Aug. 3, which was near the time the public became aware of the rise of the Delta variant of COVID-19. We gave out 6,500 through August.”

Since Sept. 1, Greene County libraries have gone through their supply of 3,000 tests and ordered another round of the same number.

“We have approximately 1,000 on hand between our seven locations,” Cusack said. “We estimate they’ll last another day at the most.”

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Beavercreek Community Library celebrates building renovations with a grand reopening at 3 p.m. today. CHUCK HAMLIN/STAFF

Beavercreek Community Library celebrates building renovations with a grand reopening at 3 p.m. today. CHUCK HAMLIN/STAFF
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Beavercreek Community Library celebrates building renovations with a grand reopening at 3 p.m. today. CHUCK HAMLIN/STAFF

The library offers curbside pickup of tests to anyone for any reason, and does not require documentation.

“As the Delta variant spreads across the state and our students and teachers head back to school, there has been renewed interest in testing for COVID-19,” Gov. Mike DeWine said in a statement. “These tests – and Ohio’s amazing network of public libraries – make it easier than ever for Ohioans to get tested and to ensure that we are limiting the spread of the Delta variant.”

In order to get an at-home COVID test, park in a curbside pickup spot at any branch of the Greene County library, stay in the car, and give them a call. A library staff member will place a test on the hood of the car. Once home, individuals who want to get tested should create an account using the NAVICA mobile app or at www.mynavica.abbott. Go to ohio.emed.com to start a testing session with a telehealth provider.

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