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

Thousands of free rapid COVID-19 tests are arriving in Montana

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

Earlier this month Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte announced the state had ordered 650,000 rapid COVID-19 tests.

Those test kits are now rolling in, and counties like Missoula are starting to announce distribution locations and times.

The kits are arriving just as Montana’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have jumped nearly 90% over the past two weeks.

Missoula County officials will distribute their allotment of nearly 26,000 free rapid test kits starting at 10:00 Sunday morning at Fort Missoula Regional Park.

County Office of Emergency Management Director Adriane Beck says early detection not only identifies individuals who are positive so they can self-isolate,

“But also as new therapeutics come online, being able to start those therapeutics early on, knowing when you’re positive has much better outcomes.”

Free kits will also be distributed Sunday at local fire stations in Frenchtown, Clinton and Seeley Lake. Each contains two tests and initially will be limited to one per household.

Tests are rolling out, or will soon be available across the state. For information visit That website will be regularly updated as more information on distribution is made available by local public health departments.

O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the University of Montana School of Journalism. His first career job out of school was covering the 1995 Montana Legislature. When the session wrapped up, O’Brien was fortunate enough to land a full-time position at the station as a general assignment reporter. Feel free to drop him a line at
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