COVID-19 rapid test kits for community organizations in Baltimore City

Updated 12/31/2021

The Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) has received a limited supply of Abbott BinaxNow COVID-19 test kits from the Maryland Department of Health (MDH).  At this time, BCHD is offering free test kits to community-based organizations serving those at the highest risk of COVID-19 and COVID-19 disparities. Test kits will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis to qualifying organizations, while supplies last. Currently, BCHD is receiving a limited shipment from MDH every other week. We will revisit the waitlist for test kits as shipments arrive. Interested organizations can APPLY HERE to be placed on the waitlist.

Purpose of the test-kit distribution program

The purpose of this program is to distribute COVID-19 test kits to individuals with the greatest need for COVID-19 testing, especially in communities demonstrating inequities in COVID-19 outcomes. Community-based organizations (CBO) are uniquely positioned to identify and reach those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 disparities. The intent of this program is for CBOs to serve as distribution partners and increase access to home test kits equitably and efficiently in Baltimore City, providing them to communities most in need of COVID-19 resources.

Requirements of the Test Kit Distribution Program

By receiving test kits, community organizations agree to the following:

  • The intent of this program is for organizations to serve as distribution sites, to distribute test kits to patients/students/members/clients/community members at large immediately, and for those individuals to use the test kits at their own discretion.
  • Test kits must be distributed to members of the community as quickly as possible after an organization receives test kits from BCHD.
  • Organizations should NOT hold on to test kits for their own operations
  • Test kits should NOT be used for testing/screening of the organization’s employees
  • Test kits should NOT be used by employees for testing patients/students/members/clients when they become symptomatic and/or to allow participation of individuals in your programs. 

When distributing test kits, organizations should:

  • Remind individuals to check the expiration date on kits.
  • Provide instructions on how to use the kits, how to report the results, and what to do if a test result is positive. (These instructions are included with the test kits.)
  • Organizations will be asked to report details of the distribution of the test kits to the health department within two weeks of receiving kits. Reports should include specifics on how test kits were distributed to the community, including the zip codes of distribution.
  • Given the high demand of this program, BCHD requests a limit of 1 test kit (1 box) per person, to maximize distribution citywide

By accepting test kits, organizations are agreeing to these terms and the purpose of the program described above.

Who can request COVID-19 test kits?

Organizations within Baltimore City who serve Baltimore City residents can request COVID-19 test kits from BCHD

VALUE (Vaccine Acceptance & Access Lives in Unity, Engagement & Education) Baltimore is a public-private partnership of the Baltimore City Health Department, Johns Hopkins International Vaccine Access Center, Morgan State University, Maryland Institute College of Art’s Center for Social Design, and Jhpiego, among others. VALUE works with respected members of Baltimore’s VALUE communities to build trust in the health system, educate the community, and promote unity to combat COVID-19 and other health issues. 

BCHD will prioritize organizations that primarily serve VALUE communities.

  • Older adults
  • Latinx community members
  • People experiencing homelessness
  • Orthodox Jewish community members
  • Young men
  • Pregnant and lactating women
  • Immigrants
  • People with disabilities
  • Pediatrics
  • LGBTQ+

BCHD will also prioritize organizations that primarily serve these zip codes with lower immunization rates.

  • 21226
  • 21223
  • 21216
  • 21217
  • 21213
  • 21218

Examples of community organizations that may be eligible include

  • Nonprofits
  • Food distribution sites/soup kitchens
  • Homeless shelters
  • Faith-based organizations

At this time, clinical organizations providing medical services (community clinics, hospitals, outpatient clinics, FQHCs) are not eligible for this program. Community outreach programs associated with clinical entities are eligible to apply.

Organizations whose applications are accepted will receive 60 test kits

Test kit pick up

  • Organizations are required to pick up test kits from the BCHD warehouse. 
  • Instructions for pickup will be provided via a notification email once an organization’s application is accepted.
  • BCHD will hold test kits a maximum of three days after notifying organizations that their application is accepted.
  • Due to the high demand for test kits, we cannot hold test kits longer than three days. Please pick up your test kits as soon as possible after you receive your notification email.
  • Please check your email frequently so that you do not miss the notification email from BCHD.

Restrictions of test kits

  • The provided at-home test kits may not meet OSHA ETS requirements for employee screening and are not recommended for use for employee screening programs.
  • The test kits are designed for personal use only. If you need a documented result for travel, employment, return to school, events, or other purposes, other tests might be needed.
  • Test kits should be used before the expiration date on the box.

Type of COVID-19 tests

  • The test kits that are being distributed are Abbot Binax Now COVID test kits
  • This is a rapid, point of care, antigen test
  • Individuals take and administer the tests themselves and interpret the test results themselves
  • More information on this type of test and its most applicable use can be found HERE
  • A video demonstration of how to use the Abbott Binax Now test kit can be found HERE
  • Each test kit includes two cards. If someone tests negative, they should repeat the test at least 36 hours after the first test
  • Additional instructions from MDH on the use of the kits can be found HERE (PDF)

Reporting Results

  • Individuals can utilize the NAVICA App with instructions provided on the kit,
  • If you don’t have the app, you can report positive test results to the BCHD COVID call center at (443) 984-8650
  • The community organizations do not have any obligation in reporting test results

Is utilizing the NAVICA app mandatory?

No, utilizing the app is not necessary. You can use and interpret the test kits without needing to use the NAVICA app. If you do not use the app, we recommend calling the BCHD COVID Call Center with positive test results at (443) 984-8650.

Other reporting requirements

Organizations receiving test kits are required to report to BCHD weekly the number of test kits distributed and types of distribution until all test kits are distributed

Will my organization receive additional test kits?

  • BCHD is reviewing our ability to provide additional test kits to organizations 
  • At this time we do not have a re-application process. We are evaluating our ability to have organizations re-apply for additional kits.

What if my organization does not initially receive test kits?

  • If BCHD receives a sufficient supply of test kits from MDH, we will review our ability to provide test kits to additional organizations
  • We will offer test kits to additional organizations that have applied based on available supplies


Interested organizations can APPLY HERE

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