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Free at-home COVID tests go fast at health departments, other locations

Increased interest in testing before holidays after omicron
Home Tests Virus Outbreak
Posted at 4:56 PM, Dec 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-23 21:37:20-05

CINCINNATI — With just a few days left until Christmas and a surge in COVID cases, people are scrambling to get a negative test result before spending time with family.

“If we couldn’t get a test to confirm our status, we wouldn’t have the holiday together,” said Donyette Bailey, who was looking for a test Thursday.

Bailey was able to get a free at-home test kit from Hamilton County Public Health.

“It’s been a labor of love trying to get a test in this city and in Kentucky,” she said. “I’m blessed that we were able to get a test.”

Hamilton County has had a hard time keeping the free tests in stock.

“We’ve had a lot of demand for testing here in Hamilton County,” said Greg Kesterman, Hamilton County Health Commissioner. “Yesterday our supply ran out. And so I sent a team of folks up to the Ohio Department of Health to pick up additional test kits.”

Kesterman said the group brought back 3,000 test kits, which were distributed at the Hamilton County Board of Elections Office and the Public Health Administrative offices Thursday. Adults were allowed to take one box each, which includes two tests.

“It’s a really big deal and it does bring a lot of ease and comfort to mind,” said Monte Lykins, who picked up a test kit.

Other agencies, including the Union Township Fire Department, were also giving out test kits Thursday. Plus, public health and private institutions were administering tests.

“We do PCR testing and antigen,” said Deborah Mann, co-owner of MedPlus Urgent Care.

Mann said the company just opened up a new location on Beechmont Avenue in Anderson Township a few days ago. On Thursday, there was no wait for rapid testing.

“People should come here, because there’s not a wait, right? People can come in and they can get their results. We send them by email,” said Mann.

That testing facility will be open on Christmas Eve.

For those unable to find a testing kit Thursday, Kesterman reminded people there are other precautions you can take to keep yourself and your family safe this holiday. The most important thing he said to do is if you're sick, stay home.

“Testing is only one part of the equation,” he said.

Wearing a mask and socially distancing are other options you can practice to stay safe.

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