King County buys 300,000 home COVID tests amid surge

King County plans to distribute 300,000 COVID-19 at-home test kits to community groups, health centers, libraries and other congregate locations amid an omicron-driven surge in cases.

King County Executive Dow Constantine announced Tuesday that the first 100,000 kits are expected to arrive the second week of January, The Seattle Times reported.

Constantine said the kits will help residents make swifter and more informed decisions on how to prevent further infections, and know whether to stay home.

"Having test results in minutes, not hours, is an important part of keeping people safe and healthy during this surge of cases," Constantine said in a news release. "We know the demand for tests has increased in recent weeks and supplies are constrained, and more help is on the way from the federal and state governments. But we can’t wait."

RELATED: Biden pledges 500M free at-home COVID-19 tests, more hospital aid to fight omicron

The kits, Constantine said, will add capacity to a testing network provided by Public Health – Seattle & King County and its partners that has been stretched thin. Some King County-operated test sites had to close or reduce hours because of severe winter weather.

The King County tests were bought on the open market, the county said, but additional information on where the tests were purchased wasn’t provided.

Details on how residents can access tests will be available when the first shipment is delivered, the county said.

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