ULSTER COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Ulster County has purchased 20,000 additional free rapid at-home COVID-19 test kits for residents. The county is expecting to distribute over 50,000 kits in total.

“As expected, the holiday season coupled with the emergence of Omicron has resulted in a dramatic surge in positive cases throughout the area,” said Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan. “Our last round of at-home test kit distribution was a major success, and I am proud that we are able to provide even more tests at this pivotal moment for our community. With positive cases on the rise, testing, wearing a mask, and getting your booster shot are essential tools to keep our community safe and our schools and businesses open.” 

The county has also announced two drive-thru distribution for the the tests this week. One is at TechCity in Ulster on December 29 and the other is at the Ulster County Fairgrounds in New Paltz on December 30. Each event will have 3,000 at-home kits available to county residents, with one kit available per car. The events will start at 6 p.m. and run while supplies last.  

The county is still partnering with all 24 municipalities to provide the test kits at no cost to cities, towns and villages throughout Ulster County. Residents can contact their municipality for additional details on how to receive the kits. Each at-home rapid kit contains two tests per box. 

In total, the county said it has acquired over 50,000 COVID at-home rapid kits to distribute directly to families and residents in an effort to allow local schools and businesses to remain open safely while increasing testing capacity and access throughout the area. New York State previously announced they will distribute over 3 million take-home kits, with priority given to areas with the highest transmission rates.

In November, Ryan declared a state of emergency due to rising COVID cases and surging hospitalizations. The emergency order allowed the county to receive the at-home kits and secure a second school specialist from the state to assist with contact tracing. 

Ulster County said it will continue to hold regular vaccination PODs for residents who need to receive their first dose, second dose or booster dose. Appointments are recommended, although walk-ins will be accommodated as capacity allows. You can sign up for appointments on the Ulster County COVID website.