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Pima County will distribute free COVID-19 tests at 12 new locations

At-home COVID-19 tests have been a critical public health tool throughout the pandemic, but on Friday the federal government stopped mailing out the free kits.   

Local governments are seeking to fill the gap in providing this critical public health tool. That includes Pima County, which has identified 12 locations to distribute free at-home tests. The effort is funded by a federal grant aimed at addressing demographic-based public health disparities.

Eddie Diaz, Pima County Health Department's health disparities program manager, says the expansion aims to meet communities where they are.

"The idea of expanding our free testing program is so that people can kind of do a self assessment and learn how to determine their own risks," Diaz said.

Anyone can go to one of the libraries distributing tests and request one, no questions asked, he said.  

"So I think as we’re learning to navigate COVID-19, since it will probably stay, it won’t go away — I'm hoping that it will normalize on how we kind of think of mitigation efforts as everyday practices," Diaz said. "That’ll just help eliminate risks."

Diaz said the best times to consider administering rapid tests are three to five days after exposure to COVID-19 or at the first sign of symptoms.  

The full list of locations for pickup can be found on pima.gov/covid19testing.

Kirsten Dorman is a field correspondent at KJZZ. Born and raised in New Jersey, Dorman fell in love with audio storytelling as a freshman at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2019.