MISSOULA — Fort Missoula Regional Park, the Frenchtown, Seeley Lake and Clinton fire stations, has been designated as the pickup sites for community members to drive through and get their free at-home COVID-19 antigen test kits.
“And really the strategy here is to amid this current omicron surge to get as many people access to these at-home tests as possible so that those people that are COVID positive can be identified quickly, conveniently and began isolating so that we can hopefully prevent future infection,” said Missoula County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Director Adriane Beck.
OEM hosted a drive-thru event over the weekend — along with partnering community members — to distribute part of the 650,000 at-home kits that Gov. Greg Gianforte ordered for the state.
“And then the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) has used an allocation formula for all of the counties in the state based on population,” said Beck.
It was determined that Missoula residents would be allotted 25,980 free at-home testing kits. One kit per household — with two tests in each kit — is being provided in Missoula County.
“We're not trying to hoard these tests by any means, but we are trying to get them out to as many different households as we possibly can," said Beck. "And so right now we are asking two people to appreciate that we are only going to distribute one per household.”
Beck noted that testing has been at the forefront of battling the pandemic, "I think that throughout this entire pandemic, the importance around identifying positive cases has been forefront and continues to be especially in this most recent surge."
Beck says that they will reassess how many kits they have leftover after this drive-thru event, to see if another one would be possible in the future. People who are looking to receive free COVID-19 tests can order them at covidtests.gov.
Missoula County has been seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks due in part to the omicron variant.
Data from the Missoula City-County Health Department (MCCHD) shows there have been 23,751 COVID-19 cases confirmed in the county including 20,507 recoveries and 198 deaths.
The Montana COVID-19 tracking website shows 75,132 county residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 representing 65% of the eligible population.