Ohio Libraries See Rise in Requests for COVID Testing Kits

UPDATE 9/12/21: Ohio’s public libraries have received national media attention for distributing COVID testing kits from the Ohio Department of Health. This partnership was a point of discussion during a Politico Live event. Check out the editorial panel video below at the 29:10 mark.

The Washington Post also ran an article on the at-home test kits available at Ohio’s public libraries.

Sept. 7, 2021 — Ohio’s public libraries are continuing to provide free, at-home COVID testing kits from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). More than 160 public library systems are participating in the program. Most libraries are distributing the kits through contactless curbside pick-up or drive-through service. Due to the spread of the Delta variant, the testing kits are in high demand. During August, 246 library locations provided more than 53,000 tests.

Ohioans who are concerned about possibly contracting COVID-19 after a recent exposure can get free, rapid COVID-19 tests at many local libraries around the state.

To find available tests, visit https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid19/dashboards/other-resources/testing-ch-centers.

NOTE: Please keep in mind that demand for testing is very high, so please call your local library first to make sure a test is available.

Earlier this year, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) purchased 2 million rapid at-home tests with the intention of making the tests publicly accessible statewide. The state has partnered with local partners, including the Ohio Library Council and many of its member libraries, to make the tests available to anyone for any reason. Since the program started last winter, libraries have requested more than 338,694 testing kits from ODH.

“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,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “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.”

The Abbott BinaxNOW Home Test can be provided to individuals for at-home use and is packaged with a telehealth session to oversee test administration and result reporting. Individuals who want to be tested will need to create an account using the NAVICA smartphone app or at www.mynavica.abbott. A person with a test should go to ohio.emed.com to start a testing session.

“Our mission is to be a community resource and providing these tests is a great fit,” said Michelle Francis executive director of the Ohio Library Council. “Just about everyone knows where their local library is and it’s a trusted and welcoming place. Ohioans are accustomed to going to libraries for much more than books and we’re proud to make these available.”

Testing has been a critical part of Ohio’s response to COVID. Since purchasing the rapid at-home tests, Governor DeWine and ODH have been creating an infrastructure for rapid testing, including through many local health departments, schools, libraries, community health centers, and other community partners. Testing is now easier to access in Ohio than at any point during the pandemic, and unlike some of the uncomfortable tests that were available at the beginning of the pandemic, these tests are painless and can be conducted from the comfort of home.

“Until more people are vaccinated, testing will be an important tool, and we are committed to making it easy to access,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, director of ODH. “Our partnerships with libraries to make the at-home rapid tests accessible and convenient are a real breakthrough in our ability to get as many Ohioans tested as possible.”

To find available tests, please visit https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid19/dashboards/other-resources/testing-ch-centers. NOTE: Demand for testing is very high, so please call ahead to make sure a test is available.

COVID-19 vaccines are widely available throughout the state. Many providers offer walk-in appointments, or Ohioans can schedule a vaccination appointment at gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Information for Ohio’s public libraries: