Summit County distributes thousands of at-home COVID test kits, with more giveaways planned

Coronavirus

AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – Hundreds of cars lined up Saturday to claim a free at-home rapid COVID-19 test kit from Summit County Public Health.

Some people waited more than an hour for the chance to take one home.

“I just want one, thought I could get a free one, since they have them here,” Vivian DeWalt said. “Trying to find them in the stores is challenging.”

The health department distributed 3,200 kits after receiving a shipment from the Ohio Department of Health.

“Folks are starting to realize they don’t want to spread this to loved ones, they’re trying to be responsible and do the right thing,” Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda said. “Plus, they want to know if they’re sick, they want to know whether or not they should monitor symptoms, stay home, what they should do.”

The kits remain in high demand as COVID-19 cases continue to surge locally, with most pharmacies sold out of them and COVID-19 testing appointments difficult to find.

“We have some at home, but we’re trying to stock up,” Marcia Campo said.

Skoda said Summit County Public Health plans to do similar giveaways whenever the department receives more of the at-home test kits.

The county also has appointments available seven days a week at its testing site in the parking lot of Summa Health’s corporate office on Gorge Boulevard.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration is moving forward with plans to send Americans 500 million of the rapid, at-home test kits later this month.

“We’ll be getting these tests to Americans for free, and we’ll have web sites where you can get them delivered to your home,” President Joe Biden said while announcing the plan last month.

The administration is awarding contracts, with plans to introduce a website to request kits that will then be shipped by the U.S. Postal Service.

However, it will be several weeks before those kits start shipping, as the contagious omicron variant quickly spreads.

“It’s unfortunate we don’t have enough to go around,” Skoda said. “That’s why, as soon as they come out, we hand them out.”

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