With the public appearance of the Omicron variant, many COVID testing sites are being overrun by residents wanting to know whether they are infected or not. This being the case, Arkansas has taken another step to relieve some of the pressure at these sites. Bridging The Gaps of Arkansas in Texarkana has teamed with the Arkansas Department of Health in distributing free COVID-19 testing kits to residents. Johnny Riley, of Bridging The Gaps, said interest in the kits is running high. His organization received nearly 300 kits Tuesday, Jan. 12 and they were out by midmorning the next day.
The State of Arkansas is set to receive 1.5 million at-home rapid COVID-19 test kits. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the tests will cost the state around $10 million with funds already existing in the COVID-19 response budget. Test kits also are available at local public libraries and public health departments throughout Arkansas. There is no cost for these testing kits. “Our goal is very simple. We have to keep people safe. We are not going to get involved in the politics of this,” Riley explained. “Our goal is very simple, we want people to be safe. And one thing is in order to be safe, you got to know if you have the virus or not.”