State Introduces Free at-home Rapid Testing Program
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) are securing over 1 million ihealth at-home rapid antigen tests for the state, to be initially distributed in areas of higher social vulnerability. So far, over 400,000 tests have been secured, with the remaining tests expected to arrive in the coming week.
“I am committed to doing everything we possibly can to get the resources needed, despite national testing shortages,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “I have directed the Department of Health to procure 1 million rapid tests every two weeks to ensure that every New Mexican has access to this critical tool in our fight against COVID-19.”
Home testing (or self testing) is one of several ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19 along with primary vaccination, getting your booster dose, wearing a mask indoors, and social distancing. “Part of learning to live with COVID as we go forward is putting the tools to fight the virus into our home, and home testing is one of the tools that in the long run will enable us to manage this pandemic,” said David R. Scrase, M.D., Acting Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Health.
In the next week, with the support of the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the National Guard, these home test kits will be distributed to emergency managers across 26 counties to the 79 zip codes with the highest social vulnerability index (SVI). Tribal communities will also receive test kits. After this initial allocation of tests, the program will expand based on available supply of tests to include a pro-rata distribution to counties across the entire state. The Biden Administration is also launching a mail order home test program available to the general public starting on January 19th.
Home tests can be completed in 15 minutes, allowing people to act quickly. Knowing if you are COVID positive allows you to let others know if they have been exposed, to stay home and/or seek timely medical attention. If you are unable to get a test and have symptoms of COVID, please assume that you have COVID, and follow COVID positive guidelines. NMDOH also has developed a webpage for home testing as well as a guide for what to do for quarantine and isolation depending on the results of your test.
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