BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Maryland Department of Health is set to distribute 500,000 home COVID-19 testing kits free of charge, Governor Larry Hogan announced Wednesday.

The department is distributing Abbott BinaxNOW test kits to local health departments as they arrive in the state, to be distributed at designated locations. Local health departments will make announcements regarding the availability of testing kits in coming weeks, the Governor’s Office said.

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The program aims to increase access to convenient testing amid increased holiday season travel.

“Testing continues to be one of the most important tools we have to keep people safe, and we have now conducted nearly 15 million tests statewide,” Hogan said. “By making these at-home test kits available through local health departments, we are giving Marylanders more options and more peace of mind as we head into the holiday season.”

Each kit contains two COVID-19 tests that are approved to be used by one person, and the tests are to be used at least 36 hours apart and within three days of each other. The tests are self-administered, and results are available in 15 minutes, according to Abbot.

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The governor promoted vaccination against the virus above all.

“Of course, the single most important thing you can do, if you haven’t already, is get vaccinated or get your booster shot,” he said.

To find a testing site for lab-based PCR testing, visit To find a vaccine clinic, visit

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CBS Baltimore Staff