Garland County Library Director Adam Webb says the drive-thru line to receive free COVID-19 at-home rapid tests was "backed up almost to the National Park Medical Center" Thursday morning as the library distributed 540 test kits.
The library began distributing the kits, with each containing two tests, at around 7:45 a.m. and the supply "lasted about 30 minutes," Webb said.
"Then the health unit, they opened their doors right around the time we were running out. So that was good timing," he said. "They've got a good supply here, as well. So we've just been kind of seeing how we can help them get the line moving."
Video not playing? Click here https://www.youtube.com/embed/gLjp7xia-OA
The Arkansas Department of Health has "allocated a certain number to every public library system in the state. And most libraries aren't right next door to their health units," Webb said.
"The two of us are just trying to work together to make sure the line keeps moving. And we're getting them out as quickly as we can," he said.
"We have thousands to give out. They're still coming in. You're welcome to come up here, you're welcome to call," Susan Lester, Garland County Health Unit administrator, said.
"I know the library is also posting on their social media and the Department of Health has a website with that information as well. Three per household is the maximum we've been told (to give out) from the Department of Health, but that's six tests."
Lester said she thinks the reason Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Department of Health have taken these measures is that "there are more cases out there and I think more people want to get tested and also the tests are not readily available at stores."
"Omicron is here," Hutchinson said Tuesday at his weekly press update. "It is here. It is raging across Arkansas, but we see from the data internationally and nationally is this will pass through. We're anxious for that to happen, but we've got to hold the line. We've got to make sure we take action, so we can get through January into February, where we expect to see this variant diminish significantly. Just like it has in other countries."
Hutchinson said in December he had directed the Department of Health to acquire 1.5 million rapid at-home tests to be available for free to Arkansans.
The tests were made available at public local libraries, public health units, and other locations.
Hutchinson said the cost of the tests, around $10 million, will be covered by existing funds available in the COVID-19 response budget.