COVID-19 Rapid Test Kits

Back to COVID-19 Testing

See COVID-19 Rapid Test Kit information in:

Self-report your rapid test results

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms:

Rapid test kits are free to Montgomery County residents.

Where to get test kits

Bring a form of proof of residency. Examples include a Driver’s license, ID, or a bill that shows you are a resident of Montgomery County.

Kit pickup is inside each library. You might enter at a side entrance. If you come early, you may wait outdoors. The line moves fast. If you need support, please ask a site attendant.

Residents can get two kits per person per day. Each kit contains two tests.

We have a limited supply of kits per site. We update this page as locations run out.

Order free rapid tests for at-home delivery from the US government, starting January 19.

Request rapid test kits for your organization or private school.

Monday to Saturday, 12 noon until daily kit amount is distributed

CLOSED Monday, January 17, for the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday

Monday to Thursday, 5 p.m. and Friday/Saturday, 3 p.m. until daily kit amount is distributed

CLOSED Monday, January 17, for the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday

How to use your rapid test kit

Rapid tests produce results 15 minutes after you complete all the steps.

iHealth Rapid Antigen COVID-19 Test: Instructions for iHealth Rapid Tests (PDF) | Learn more about iHealth Rapid Antigen COVID-19 Tests

BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Self Test: Instructions for Binax Rapid Test (PDF) | Learn more about BinaxNOW Antigen COVID-19 Tests

If you have questions about the test itself, visit the manufacturer’s website. If you have questions about your test results, contact your healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

Rapid COVID-19 tests

  • Also called antigen tests
  • Samples collected via a nasal swab
  • Detect certain proteins in the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19
  • No laboratory needed
  • Get results in 15 minutes. That helps detect disease sooner, decrease spread faster and start contact tracing earlier.

PCR COVID-19 tests

  • Also called molecular tests or polymerase chain reaction tests
  • Samples collected via a nasal swab
  • Detect genetic material specific to the virus that causes COVID-19
  • Considered the “gold standard” in COVID-19 detection. They are often more accurate than rapid tests, especially for people without symptoms.
  • Performed in a laboratory
  • Get results in 2 to 3 days. When the demand for testing is high, PCR results can take a week or longer. That leads to delays in decreasing the spread of the virus.

When should the rapid COVID-19 test be used?

COVID-19 rapid antigen self-tests are intended for the detection of the virus

  • within 7 days of symptom onset, or
  • after possible exposure to COVID-19.

Test immediately after identification of close contact exposure, if you are

  • asymptomatic,
  • not fully vaccinated, and
  • have close contact with someone with known or suspected COVID-19.

If your test is negative, test again 5 to 7 days after the last known exposure, or immediately if symptoms develop.

How are samples collected?

In both the rapid test and PCR test, samples are collected using a nasal swab. A swab is inserted about one inch into each nostril, one side at a time. The swab is then rotated around the inside of each nostril, approximately five times, to gather mucous.

Who should get a COVID-19 test?

How accurate are my rapid test results?

Rapid tests are most effective one to five days after symptoms start. Positive results are usually highly accurate. Negative results may need to be confirmed with a PCR test.

What does it mean if I have a positive rapid test result?

You are likely contagious. A positive test means it is very likely you have COVID-19 and could spread it to others. Even if you have no symptoms and feel good, assume you are contagious.

Contact your healthcare provider. Seek follow-up care from your healthcare provider as soon as possible, as you may need more testing and treatment. Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine how best to care for you based on your test results, medical history and symptoms. Ask your provider if you are eligible for treatment, such as monoclonal antibodies (mAb). Monoclonal antibody treatment is not a cure, but it may lessen symptom severity. Learn more about eligibility for free monoclonal antibody treatment and other services.

Self-isolate at home and stay away from others for at least 5 days.

Tell your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. For COVID-19, a close contact is anyone who you were within 6 feet for a combined total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

What does it mean if I have a negative rapid test result?

A negative test result means you do probably not have COVID-19

  • if you took the test while you had symptoms, and
  • followed all instructions carefully.

It is possible for a test to give a negative result in some people who have COVID-19. This is called a false negative. You could also test negative if you tested too early in your infection. In this case, you could test positive later during your illness.

What should I do if my rapid test result comes back negative, but I have COVID-19 symptoms?

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and isolate until your symptoms resolve, regardless of your test results. A PCR test is recommended if your symptoms continue and you had a negative rapid test. This is especially true if you had a direct exposure (meaning closer than 6 feet to someone for more than 15 minutes) to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Can I use a COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test for work/school reinstatement or travel purposes?

No. Although rapid tests may be accepted by individual employers, schools, or airlines, the rapid tests we distribute are not proctored. We are unable to provide copies of rapid test results or proof of rapid testing for the purpose of work/school reinstatement or travel purposes.

Do I need to return this test to receive my results?

No. This is a rapid test that will produce results for you 15 minutes after you complete all the steps.

Is there an age limit on who can use this test? Can it be used for children?

COVID-19 rapid antigen self-tests are intended for use by individuals 15 years and older (self-collected) or 2 years and older (collected with adult assistance).

Where can I find more information about COVID-19 testing options in Montgomery County?

Visit for more information about COVID-19 testing in Montgomery County.