UPDATE: Friday, Dec. 24: DC has added four DC Fire EMS Stations for distribution of Rapid Anti-gen tests on Sundays.
DC is expanding access to both at-home rapid antigen testing and at-home PCR testing. The expansion is part of a COVID-19 response plan announced Dec. 20 by Mayor Muriel Bowser (D), in response to a four-fold increase in COVID-19 cases in one month.
Rapid Antigen COVID-19 Testing kits will be available at eight District libraries, starting at noon Wednesday, Dec. 22, and during library hours Monday to Saturday thereafter.
On Sundays only, the tests will be available at four DC Fire Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Stations, including Engine #8 at 1520 C St. SE (near Payne Elementary School).
Each site will start with a supply of 1,000 per day, but DC has ordered more than 1 million BinaxNOW and iHealth tests, so more will be available as supply increases. Report results to DC Health at coronavirus.dc.gov/overthecounter. Each resident can get two free rapid test kits a day (and each kit has two tests), but must provide proof of residency. ID can be a piece of mail showing name and a DC address.
Allen tweeted that parents can pick up extra kits for minor children. Children do not need identification of their own, but a parent can only pick up extra kits for children who are with them at the time.
While some people waited for hours in lines that stretched around the blook Wednesday, by Thursday reports indicated that pick-up took only a few minutes at most locations. During a visit to Anacostia Public Library (1800 Good Hope Rd. SE) Thursday, the line moved a bit slowly, but this proved to be because the DC Health representative on hand was taking a few seconds to answer brief resident questions about the best test (PCR vs. Antigen) for each purpose.
The Ward 6 Rapid test pick-up location is at Shaw Library (1630 Seventh St. NW). “That decision was a DC Health decision,” Ward Councilmember Charles Allen (D) said on Twitter, noting that while it was great for Shaw neighbors it is not accessible for a big part of Ward 6. “I’ve already talked to DOH about it and they will be adding more sites in Ward 6 soon.”
Test Yourself as Alternative to Standing in Line
DC has also expanded access to Test Yourself home PCR COVID-19 testing kits. The self-testing kits are available at 36 locations throughout the District. Once you have your testing kit, log in here and follow the steps.
Test Yourself kits are a good alternative to standing in line at public COVID-19 PCR testing sites, DC Health said. Each kit enables individuals to take a COVID-19 test from anywhere they are most comfortable —at home, in their car— without having to wait in line at a testing site. Samples are dropped off at one of the 36 locations prior to 8 p.m. the same day.
Ward 6 Test Yourself Pick-Up Sites
DC Health said that the swabbing process is a simple one that can be done by a lay person as competently as by a medical professional. Samples are processed in the same lab as testing done at the public sites. They have the same turnaround time, with results currently back in an average of 1.5 days.
The Test Yourself DC kits can be used on individuals ages 3 and up. DC Health recommends parents or guardians assist children 17 and younger.
For more information about Test Yourself DC, including pick-up and drop locations as well as instruction, please visit testyourself.dc.gov For other ways to get tested, please visit coronavirus.dc.gov/testing.