Free at-home COVID tests are being made available in Montana

Posted at 4:21 PM, Jan 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-28 16:44:30-05

Editor's note: The original article incorrectly indicated Lewis and Clark County would offer at-home tests based on the state's release. The County will not be offering tests to the general public.

HELENA — The State of Montana is making 650,000 at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen tests available for Montanans.

The tests are being provided at no cost to support early COVID-19 detection in an effort to reduce transmission of the virus.

The Montana Department of Public Health and Humane Services shipped the at-home tests this week to county and Tribal public health departments for distribution beginning as early as Sunday, January 30, 2022, unless otherwise noted by the distributing county or tribal entity.

The CareStart tests are self-administered, and results are available in 10 minutes. Gov. Greg Gianforte ordered the tests from Medea Medical Products for approximately $5.5 million, or about $8.46 per test according to DPHHS. The $5.5 million came from the state's ELC Enhancing Detection Expansion grant funded by Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act.

People can go to for locations and days the tests will be made available. The state says the allocations were distributed on a per capita basis to local jurisdictions.

Lewis and Clark County will not be offering the tests to the general public. The federal government will send out four free at-home tests to any interested residents. More information can be found at: Lewis and Clark County will continue to offer testing at their Community Testing Clinic at the fairgrounds. More information about getting tested in the county can be found here.

The home test website includes guidance for Montanans about how to report a positive test. County and Tribal public health departments are also required to provide an informational one-pager with each test kit. Montanans can report a positive test to DPHHS by scanning the QR code located on the one-pager, or online here.

Montanans that test positive should isolate for five full days and inform their health care provider and any close contacts. If an individual meets the criteria to discontinue isolation after day five, they should wear a mask for an additional five days when around others and avoid indoor gatherings and travel. For more information about the current guidelines for isolation, quarantine and who may be a close contact,please visit here.