Free Rapid COVID-19 Test Kits

Library patrons can now pick up a free rapid COVID-19 test kit while supplies last.

Provided by the Ohio Department of Health, these kits are available at no cost to patrons or the library system. The BinaxNOW COVID-19 rapid antigen test kits are self-administered, are to be used at-home, and deliver results within minutes, requiring the user to insert a nasal swab into a nostril, add drops to it and close the kit.

Kit numbers are limited and may be picked up using ACPL’s current curbside service, or through ACPL’s at-home service for those who cannot physically travel to a library building. Patrons don’t need to give any further information about themselves or why they want a kit.

The kits detect the virus in the early part of the disease (when people are most infectious), and are most accurate on people already showing possible symptoms, versus asymptomatic individuals.

In order to use the kits, interested patrons 16 and older will first need to download an app called NAVICA on a mobile device, create an account, and set up profiles for each person wanting to be tested. They will then scan in a code found on the test’s box and watch a short instructional video at ohio.emed.com. A proctor on duty 24/7 from eMed will walk the person through the process once they are ready to test, and will watch to ensure the test is completed correctly. If the person does not have internet access, they can call 844-943-0061 for assistance.

Test results are returned through the NAVICA app, and the NAVICA pass can be used to demonstrate a test result to an employer, school, or other party. For public health reporting, eMed sends results through the electronic lab reporting system.

The Ohio Department of Health has secured the purchase of at least 2 million tests like these that can be self-administered outside of a clinical setting. It’s the governor’s goal to make these tests available and accessible in every Ohio county, and because libraries are trusted entities and already working closely with local health departments during the pandemic, they seemed like a good fit to help distribute these kits.

Librarians will only be distributing the kits and accompanying instruction booklets curbside to individuals who have downloaded the NAVICA app. Similar to how ACPL offers access to tax forms, libraries are only providing the resource and cannot answer specific questions. Anyone who thinks they will need tech assistance in order to use the kits, who has questions that cannot be answered in the instruction booklet, or who does not have access to a mobile device is encouraged to seek out testing at other facilities. Staff at all of our locations have researched nearby testing sites and can offer this information to patrons. (In Coolville, for example, patrons can pick up their test at the library and then get immediate assistance from a nurse at the nearby Hopewell Clinic.)

A list of local testing sites is also available on the county’s health department website at athenspublichealth.org.