KGVO spoke with Cindy Farr, Missoula City County Health Department Incident Commander on Friday about plans to distribute a new supply of at-home test kits from the State of Montana.

 

“We did receive another allotment of test kits from the state health department and we are going to be handing those out at our West Broadway facility,” said Farr. “You can come and pick them up at 3665 West Broadway. We will start handing them out on Monday. You don't have to even get out of your car. You can just pull in and you'll see the little line and where you need to go and you can come and pick those up during our clinic hours.”

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Farr said the at-home tests differ from the tests given at a clinic or healthcare facility.

“These are the rapid antigen test kits,” she said. “The difference is if you go into a clinic, generally you're going to be tested with a PCR, (polymerase chain reaction) and that gets sent out to a lab for confirmation to get processed and the test kits at home are antigen tests. The big difference is that the PCR will actually pick up a positive case really early in the disease, where these home test kits that have been being handed out could take a day or two of having symptoms before the test is going to go positive.”

KGVO asked Farr about the theory that once a person contracts COVID and recovers, then they have natural immunity and don’t need to be vaccinated. She disagreed.

“We definitely encourage people that even if you've had COVID in the past that you still go ahead and get vaccinated,” she said. “Also be aware that you can catch it again because basically when you develop the disease, you only end up building up antibodies that last for about three months, and then after that three months, or after recovery, you're no longer protected against COVID.”

Conversely, Farr said it’s the vaccination that helps build antibodies.

“If you got COVID and you got vaccinated, then you actually have even higher immunity than people who just got vaccinated and didn't get COVID. So if you've gotten COVID in the past and you don't want to have to worry about getting it again, definitely come in and get vaccinated. It's never too late. We're still running our vaccine clinic and we can get you going on that and it will provide you even more immunity.”

Farr said the hours at the West Broadway location to pick up the at-home test kits are 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday and Tuesday; 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

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