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Alexandria libraries to offer free COVID testing kits

Alexandria is one of several localities around Virginia selected for a Virginia Department of Health (VDH) program that will be distributing free COVID testing kits from the local libraries.

Alexandria libraries could, this week, begin distributing COVID-19 testing kits, the VDH said in a press release.

“Today [Tuesday], the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced its partnership with 18 libraries and library systems across the commonwealth to distribute COVID-19 rapid antigen at-home test kits at no cost,” the VDH said. “The pilot program begins this week and will run through Friday, Dec. 31.”

The tests being offered are the Abbott BinaxNow COVID-19 Antigen Card Home Test, and the VDH said they can be used at home with digital results returned in 15 minutes.

“We are pleased to work with public libraries to provide another testing option for our community and to increase accessibility,” Dr. Laurie Forlano, deputy director of the Office of Epidemiology, said in the press release. “Testing continues to be important to stop the spread of COVID-19, particularly as we enter the holiday season when people gather.”

The Alexandria Health Department also put out a quick reminder of safety tips and recommendations as the holiday season approaches.

  • Get all eligible members of your family fully vaccinated, including booster shots, if appropriate.
  • Wear a mask indoors when around those not in your household.
  • Stay home when sick.
  • Maintain 6 feet of physical distance from others as much as possible.
  • Avoid crowded and indoor areas where distancing is not possible, or where you will be in close contact with those whose vaccination status is unknown.
  • If you think you may have COVID-19 or may have been exposed, get tested and follow guidelines for isolation and quarantine.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. This will help prevent many diseases, including the seasonal flu.
  • If not fully vaccinated, stay away from others and get tested 3-5 days after returning home from travel.

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