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St. Louis County distributing free at-home COVID test kits through 2 county library branches

For now, 25 kits are available per day at each location. The library said it received 1,800 calls within the first 30 minutes that the program began.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The St. Louis County Department of Public Health is partnering with two branches of the St. Louis County Library to help distribute at-home COVID-19 tests for free.

On Monday, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced details on new distribution sites in response to high demand. You can watch the full briefing below:

Residents can reserve and pick up at-home saliva tests from the Rock Road and Weber Road library branches. They are available for curbside pickup Monday through Friday, with a limited supply of 25 per day per location.

The saliva PCR tests requires you to spit in a tube rather than swabbing your nose.

Kristen Sorth, director and CEO of the St. Louis County Library, shared the reasoning on why these locations were picked. 

"We looked at locations that complimented what the health department was already doing in regards to testing and to make sure they were close to the sites to return the samples to," she adds. "They are both branches that qualify for free and reduced lunch, so we have drive-thru meals at both locations. We’re pretty good with drive-thrus at those locations."

Hours after the program began on Monday, the library reported large interest.

Communications Manager Jennifer McBride said within the first 30 minutes, they received more than 1,800 calls. 

Sorth added, "The response was overwhelming. We had 2,300 calls this morning before noon."

Kits were gone in the first hour. 

Christopher Ave, the St. Louis County Department of Health Communications Manager, says, "Expansion is certainly a possibility. We are limiting the numbers initially to make sure we don’t overwhelm our laboratory, which has to run every sample collected. Once we are comfortable with the workload, we may be able to increase the number of kits distributed through library branches, assuming the library system agrees."

Kits are limited to two per person and can only be reserved by calling 314-994-3300. In-person reservations will not be accepted.

Sorth recommends calling at 9 a.m. to get a kit and she says this is open to anyone, not just St. Louis County residents.

Recipients can drop off the used tests at one of the COVID-19 testing drop-off sites operated by the county's health department, so the department can run the tests. 

Do not try to return the kits to any library facility. Results will be available within 24-72 hours.

You can drop them off Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the following locations:

  • John C. Murphy Health Center, 6121 North Hanley Rd., Berkeley
  • North Central Community Health Center, 4000 Jennings Station Rd., Pine Lawn
  • South County Health Center, 4580 South Lindbergh Blvd., Sunset Hills

Ave shares, "Just a reminder. Anyone can visit our website here and make an appointment to get a test at one of our four locations. The library test kits are only a small part of our testing operation."

McBride said ibrary test kits are only a small part of testing operations, and anyone can visit ReviveSTL.com and make an appointment to get tested at one of the four sites operated by the county health department.

The county has three permanent drive-thru testing sites in Berkeley, Pine Lawn and Sunset Hills and one temporary site at the North County Recreation Complex. 

Page said between the new temporary site and three permanent sites, the county can schedule 3,925 appointments per week. All of those appointments were taken last week. 

The new temporary testing site is meeting its 200 tests per day goal and hopes to add more in the future.

Click here for more information about the county health department's testing sites. For more information about the library testing kits, contact the St. Louis County Department of Public Health or the library at 314-994-3300.