Keystone Health will distribute free COVID-19 home test kits and N95 masks at a drive-through event on Saturday in Chambersburg.
The local medical provider plans to give four at-home tests and masks to each vehicle that comes through the event on Jan. 29 at Cochran Professional Center, 830 Norland Ave., according to a news release. Distribution will begin at 1 p.m. and continue through 3:30 p.m. or until supplies last.
The tests and masks are being provided by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration as part of the Biden administration's commitment to ensure "underserved communities and those disproportionately affected by COVID-19 have equitable access to public health tools needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Keystone's goal is to get as many test kits and masks into the community where they are most needed.
"On our journey to restoring a sense of 'normalcy,' COVID vaccines and boosters are still our most powerful tool," said Monica Diehl, chief nursing officer at Keystone Health. "As omicron has spread through Franklin County, we have been fortunate to find those who are vaccinated typically have mild symptoms that allow for a quick recovery. The expanded availability of home test kits will aid in early identification of COVID infections and decrease the spread of disease.”
Where else can I get at-home tests?
At-home kits have been hard, but not impossible, to find at pharmacies around the area.
The federal government recently opened up distribution of at-home rapid tests through the U.S. Postal Service; tests are to be shipped starting by the end of this month. Each household can order four free tests at covidtests.gov.
Where else can I get N95 masks?
The Centers for Disease Control recently announced that cloth masks are not effective against the highly contagious omicron variant and that people should instead choose N95 or KN95 masks.
N95 masks, which are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, are designed to fit tightly on the face and filter out about 95% of airborne particles. KN95 masks are similarly effective, although they are made in China.
The N95 masks that will be distributed by Keystone Health are part of the Biden administration's plan to send 400 million N95 masks to pharmacies and community health centers for free distribution.
The masks began shipping out last week and are to be available at major grocery stores and retail pharmacy chains.
COVID-19 in Franklin County
Franklin County continues to see high counts of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations amid the omicron variant, but both appear to be improving.
The number of cases dropped by nearly 200 last week from the week before, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Fewer cases have been reported this week so far compared to last week.
COVID-19 hospitalizations have been on an upward trend since November, although the number of admissions has been going down over the past seven days.
Forty-eight people have died from COVID-19 so far this year as of Jan. 21, the last date reported. Overall, 610 county residents have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
About 42.5% of residents in Franklin County have been fully vaccinated, according to the department of health.
Amber South can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Chambersburg Public Opinion: COVID-19 home test and N95 masks: How to get them in Franklin County