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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

Free rapid COVID tests will soon arrive in Montana

COVID-19 antigen test kit
Michele Ursi/Getty Images/iStockphoto
COVID-19 antigen test kit

Six hundred fifty thousand rapid COVID-19 tests will arrive in Montana later this month. Until then, the state health department says a national shortage on the tests has prevented orders from getting filled.

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services says it has pending orders for nearly 300,000 tests, but it’s unclear when those tests will arrive.

Gov. Greg Gianforte’s office announced it secured tests from another manufacturer and will make them available at no cost to Montanans starting January 24. The tests are being paid for through federal grant funding. In the same announcement Thursday, Gianforte criticized the Biden Administration for not fulfilling its promise to make tests readily available to Americans.

The Biden administration announced Friday that Americans can begin ordering free tests from the federal government on Jan. 19, and insurance companies are now required to cover up to eight tests per individual monthly.

Federal health officials say COVID transmission in Montana is high.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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