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Travis County offers free at-home COVID-19 test kits

A person uses a nasal swab to conduct a COVID-19 test.
Gabriel C. Pérez
A person uses a nasal swab to conduct a COVID-19 test in Austin.

Update: In an email Wednesday, the Travis County public information officer said all free test kits had been distributed by 10 a.m.

Travis County is giving out free at-home COVID-19 testing kits.

The kits are available at community centers around the county and can be picked up by appointment only. Residents can call one of the community centers near them (listed below) to make an appointment.

The community centers will be open until 1 p.m. Wednesday and will reopen on Monday. The test kits expire Jan. 31.

Community centers:

  • Del Valle: South Community Center, 3518 Farm to Market 973, Del Valle; 512-854-1520
  • Manor: East Rural Community Center, 600 W. Carrie Manor St., Manor; 512-854-1550
  • Jonestown: Northwest Rural Community Center, 18649 Farm to Market 1431, Suite 6A, Jonestown; 512-854-1500
  • Oak Hill: West Rural Community Center, 8656 State Hwy 71, Suite 100, Austin; 512-854-2130
  • Pflugerville: North Rural Community Center, 15822 Foothill Farms Loop, Pflugerville; 512-854-1530
  • Central Austin: 5325 Airport Blvd Austin; 512-854-4120

The announcement comes as COVID-19 begins to surge across the U.S. because of the omicron variant and many Americans struggle to access affordable COVID-19 tests.

President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that the government plans to buy half a billion at-home testing kits and mail them to those who want them starting in January. The government will start a website where people can order the tests to be delivered for free.

Austin Public Health reported 845 new cases of COVID-19 in Travis County on Tuesday, the highest number of daily new cases reported since September. During a news conference Tuesday, local health leaders urged people — even those who are vaccinated — to take precautions to slow the spread of omicron, which is now the dominant strain in the U.S.

“We are on the brink of Stage 4, and we need to act as such,” Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said, referring to APH’s risk-based guidance levels. “We need to wear masks in all indoor situations, including indoor dining and shopping. Omicron’s arrival in Austin coincides with one of the busiest times of year, when people are traveling and gathering in groups for the holidays.”

Marisa Charpentier is KUT's assistant digital editor. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @marisacharp.
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