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Austin Public Health offering free at-home COVID-19 testing kits at food pantries

The Biden administration recently announced that take-home coronavirus testing is going to be free for Americans.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin Public Health (APH) is now offering at-home COVID-19 tests for those who take advantage of food pantries.

The Biden administration recently announced that take-home coronavirus testing is going to be free for Americans. At a press briefing on Dec. 10, APH leaders were asked how those tests are being administered in the Austin area and what that means for testing ahead of the holidays.

In partnership with Travis County and the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, APH has bought at-home tests to distribute to those in need across the Austin area, said Interim Director Adrienne Stirrup.

When the City of Austin's Neighborhood Service Centers hold food pantry events, those at-home tests are being distributed, Stirrup said. Travis County is also distributing those kits along with food pantry efforts at the Travis County community centers. 

"And as I mentioned earlier, you know, we had an organization reach out to say that they were doing very important outreach in the Del Valle area, and do we have any test kits? Well, we sure did," Stirrup said. "And so it's that kind of being able to provide the services ourselves, working in collaboration with partners and also resourcing our community to make sure that those test kits are available."

Included with those at-home tests are instructions on what people should do if they test positive. They must call APH's nurse line at 512-972-5560 and report their case to APH. They should then stay home, isolate and contact their doctor to see if they're eligible for monoclonal antibodies.

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