HELENA – Governor Greg Gianforte announced plans to increase access to at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen tests for Montanans. The governor has secured approximately 650,000 tests which will be distributed statewide through local public health departments. The tests will be available at no cost to Montanans.

“As the state of Montana, like the rest of the nation, faces a new surge with the omicron variant, testing is a critical tool to help keep people safe with early detection,” Gov. Gianforte said. “Recognizing the nationwide testing shortage and the Biden administration’s continued failure to deliver on its promise of free at-home rapid tests for Americans, we took matters into our own hands, securing about 650,000 at-home rapid tests that will be available at no cost to Montanans.”

Gov. Gianforte ordered about 650,000 tests from Medea Medical Products for approximately $5.5 million, or about $8.46 per test.

The state anticipates the tests will arrive in Montana the week of January 24. Once the tests arrive, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and Montana Disaster and Emergency Services will ship allocations to local public health departments for community distribution. Once the tests have been distributed to public health departments, additional information on how and where tests can be obtained will be announced.

The CareStart tests are self-administered, and results are available in 10 minutes.

The governor took action to secure at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen tests for Montanans as omicron surges in the state and after the Biden administration’s repeated failures to secure and distribute free at-home tests. In September, Pres. Biden vowed to distribute 300 million rapid tests, but that has not occurred. In December, Pres. Biden said the federal government will purchase 500 million rapid tests and create a system for delivery in January, but to date, neither has occurred. In December, Pres. Biden admitted his shortcoming on keeping his promise on testing availability, saying “nothing’s been good enough.”

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