How and where to get free home covid tests in Arkansas
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, all 1.5 million rapid covid-19 tests ordered by the federal government for Arkansans to get for free have been distributed statewide.
Some places may still have kits available, but Department of Health spokeswoman Danyelle McNeill recommended people call and check before showing up for a test. There is no date yet for another order of kits, she said on Thursday.
McNeill added that if there is uneven demand for tests, tests that are already in the state can be redistributed to places with greater demand.
From mid-January, home tests became available to order online from the federal government. Orders will be fulfilled by mail via the United States Postal Service.
Also in January, the Biden administration announced that it would begin making 400 million N95 masks available for free to US residents at pharmacies and other locations.
Where can I do a covid test at home?
Covid testing will be available free of charge to every address in the United States through the US Postal Service.
Each order will be shipped free of charge and will contain four individual rapid antigen tests. There is a limit of one order per residential address.
Orders can be placed by visiting special.usps.com/testkits and filling in your shipping information.
Orders should ship within 7-12 days. For more information, visit covidtests.gov.
Through an initiative launched Jan. 28 with the Rockefeller Foundation, 1.1 million tests will be provided to residents of Arkansas, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico and Ohio, a said Dillaha.
Residents can order their five-test kit at accesscovidtests.org.
To find a locally available test, below is a partial list of locations that offer free at-home covid testing in Arkansas. Not all locations are included. Some may not currently have a stock of tests. Due to limited supply, it’s best to call ahead to confirm that a particular location has kits in stock. For a full list of locations, see the map below or visit Ministry of Health website.
McNeil said the map is difficult to update because the Department of Health does not receive inventory reports from partners, only reports from local health units about which locations are out of testing. She advised residents to call ahead before going to a site for a test.
Tests were assigned to each location based on the area’s population and rates of covid-19 cases by population, said Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, chief medical officer for the Health Department.
A number of libraries across the state offer home kits, including Little Rock, Lonoke, Sherwood, Maumelle, Bryant, Benton, Conway, Wrightsville, and more.
Little North Rock:
North Little Rock Health Department
New Hope Baptist Church
County Lonoke on Aging Des Arc Senior Center (Lonoke)
Arkansas Department of Social Services (Benton)
Garland County Emergency Management Office (Hot Springs)
England Town Hall (England)
Town Hall (Menifee)
Helena Town Hall (Helena)
City Hall (Fulton)
Quitman Town Hall (Quitman)
Town Hall (Gould)
Town hall (Cotonnier)
Mena Regional Hospital (Mena)
The Wellness Clinic (DeQueen)
CHI St. Vincent Mt Ida (Mt. Ida)
Good Samaritan Clinic (Fort Smith)
Blytheville Housing Authority (Blytheville)
McGehee Housing Authority (McGehee)
Crawford County Sheriff’s Office (Van Buren)
Family Prayer and Worship Center (Rogers)
Conway County Care Center (Morriton)
Partners for Progress (Perryville)
Main Street Mission (Russellville)
Filling the Gaps (Texarkana)
NWA Council (Springdale)
The Jones Center (Springdale)
Food Bank of North Central Arkansas (Mountain Home)
Bethel AME Church (Memphis)
First Baptist Church (Trumann)
How many free home tests can I get?
If you order from special.usps.com/testkits, you will receive four individual rapid antigen tests. There is a limit of one order per residential address.
If you order from accesscovidtests.orgyou will receive a kit of five tests.
If you pick up tests at a location listed by the Arkansas Department of Health, you are limited to two tests per day for an individual or six per day for a family. The tests are presented in boxes of two.
Should I take a home antigen test or take a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test?
Dillaha said home testing is beneficial when someone has symptoms, to determine whether or not they should self-isolate, which she cites as the biggest value of testing.
If a person’s results are positive, they should stay home and self-isolate, she said. If someone tests negative and has symptoms, she said the results should be checked somehow within 24 to 48 hours. The test can be repeated at home, to see if the test comes back positive or if the person can get a PCR test. Some employers, she noted, require a negative PCR test result because it is the most accurate.
If someone is at high risk for the disease, Dillaha recommended taking a PCR test, because if the result is positive, they may be eligible to receive one of the available therapeutic treatments.
How do I report a positive covid home test?
The Arkansas Department of Health will take positive home test reports at 1-800-803-7847.
Reporting your positive result is optional, said Department of Health spokeswoman Danyelle McNeill. She said that while daily covid-19 numbers in state records may not include all positives from home tests, the department still has enough information to know how badly the covid-19 is widespread in communities based on case data, moving averages and percent positivity.
“Our recommendations based on this information are to strongly encourage all Arkansans to wear a mask, social distance, stay home if sick, and get vaccinated and boosted if eligible,” a- she declared.
Students who test positive, whether tested at home or at a facility, should immediately report the case to their school.
“This is an important step as schools will need to take quick action to minimize the potential spread of covid-19 in the school,” McNeill said.
The school will provide the student with information on when it is appropriate to return to campus.
Where to go for in-person testing:
Several Arkansas hospitals and local county health units are offering testing for covid-19. Check the list or explore the map below to find a location near you.
Arkansas Children’s Hospital (Little Rock and Springdale) offers drive-through testing (https://www.archildrens.org/coronavirus/covid-testing) 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Little Rock) and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Springdale) Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday (both locations)
Baptiste Health offers testing at multiple locations throughout the state. Drive-through testing is available in Arkadelphia, Conway, Fort Smith (Baptist Health Medical Plaza), Heber Springs, Little Rock (Baptist Health Medical Center), Malvern and Stuttgart. For all other locations, appointments can be made online. Hours vary. (https://www.baptist-health.com/baptist-health-coronavirus-screening-locations/)
Local County Health Units offer free covid testing Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., according to McNeill.
People can bring their insurance card for billing, but no one will be charged, she said.
UAMS Medical Center offers drive-through testing (https://uamshealth.com/location/covid-19-drive-thru-screening/) from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Sunday.
Where can I get vaccinated?
To make an appointment for the first or second dose of your vaccine or to receive your booster, you can visit vaccines.gov and enter your postal code to find a clinic near you.
You can call 1-800-232-0233 or text your zip code to 438829.
For more information on vaccination progress, including a map that tracks county-level vaccinations across the United States and a map of Arkansas locations administering vaccines, visit our Vaccine Info page.