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Montana counties ready to distribute free rapid COVID tests

| February 1, 2022 7:00 AM

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana counties are preparing to distribute 650,000 rapid COVID-19 tests at no cost to residents, Gov. Greg Gianforte said Thursday.

The state health department spent $5.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief money to order the tests earlier this month.

Some counties will start giving them out on Sunday while others will have them available next week. County-by-county information on when and where the tests will be distributed can be found at

The CareStart tests are self-administered and results are available in 10 minutes. Anyone who tests positive is asked to report it to their county health department.

Gianforte has said testing is a critical tool to help keep people safe through early detection.

The distribution comes as Montana residents have started receiving free home tests from a federal government website that started taking orders on Jan. 20.

Montana reported nearly 3,000 known positive COVID-19 tests on Thursday, giving the state more than 18,000 known active cases. More than 310 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, state officials reported Thursday.