Ohio changes priorities for distribution of COVID tests from libraries to schools

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — If you are waiting for your local library or health department to get more rapid COVID tests in stock, you might be waiting a while longer. The Ohio Department of Health said it is changing its priorities and will be diverting incoming stock to K-12 schools, colleges, and universities.

The state’s health department said it had previously ordered 1.2 million antigen tests to be distributed free of charge through libraries and health departments in the month of January but, so far, only 400,000 of those have been distributed.

Officials say shipments of the remaining 800,000 proctored test kits have been put on hold by the manufacturer as demand for them has increased nationwide. ODH expects to receive shipments later this month but says when they arrive, they will be given to schools, not libraries and health departments.


A drive through COVID testing site in Columbus.
A drive through COVID testing site in Columbus.

ODH said the antigen tests are a critical tool to help ensure in-person learning can continue in Ohio’s schools so it’s important they have access to these tests to make sure kids and teachers can state in class.

Like in the overall community, the demand for COVID-19 tests in schools continues to climb. In recent days, there have been mass testing sites opened in various cities throughout the state where Ohioans can go to get PCR tests performed by a medical professional.

In addition, the tests will be available for purchase in pharmacies throughout the state. Starting this Saturday, private insurers will be required to cover the costs for those tests.

ODH said once schools have what they need, the state will once again send test kits to libraries and health departments.

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