Test and Protect: Free COVID-19 Testing at Your Local Library Branch

Your Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library recently teamed up with Hamilton County's Test and Protect initiative to provide free COVID-19 testing in communities around the greater Cincinnati area.  

Every week the Library is adding four to five one-day locations to allow equitable access across the county. Testing is walk-up only and no appointment is needed. Pre-registration is encouraged to limit wait time. 

Putting Testing to the Test

The process couldn't be easier! Our social media coordinator Austin Winters put the program to the test (pun intended) and shared his experience with us.  

When I saw that the West End Branch would have free COVID-19 testing available as part of the Test and Protect program, I pre-registered online to make the process even easier when I arrived,” he said. 

I arrived at the West End Branch and immediately saw signage and the testing tent outside—and with no line. The testing process itself was incredibly simple. I filled out a short form with information on how UC Health can contact me with my results and then sat down for the actual swab test. This was my first COVID-19 testing experience, and I was a little nervous after hearing from others that the process was slightly discomforting. The medical professionals assured me the process would be quick and over before I knew it—just a 15-second swab in one nose—and they were right! 

After the test, I was handed a slip of paper with a code and link to a website where I could access my test results in the next two to four days. They reminded me that they only would call me in the case that I tested positive, and that if I didn’t hear back within a week, I could safely assume I tested negative. Three days later, I received an email that let me know I had tested negative! I’m incredibly thankful for this essential community service performed by The Health Collaborative and UC Health.”  

A Community Collaboration 

Nine of our region’s leading healthcare and higher education institutions were awarded $18 million by Hamilton County Commissioners in July to design and execute a testing strategy to help stop the community spread of COVID-19, and to better protect the health of all people in Hamilton County. Testing priority is given to those communities with an increase in positive cases; and the Test and Protect strike team is immediately responding to organizations experiencing an outbreak. 

The partnership with the CHPL helps Test and Protect reach more people with safe, reliable, accurate, and convenient testing, especially for the underserved. 

Your public library is intent on ensuring equity of access to community resources and library resources. We work to break down barriers to what community members need, such as providing multiple library locations across the county to serve as free COVID -19 testing sites to make it easy, convenient, and no-cost to be tested,” said the Library’s Civic Engagement Coordinator David Siders. 

Stopping the Spread  

One of the best wayto stop the spread of COVID-19 is through universal testing. As many as two out of five people who have COVID-19 show no symptoms, thus they are inadvertently spreading the virus without knowing it. The only certain way to know if you’re infected is through testing. 

“Broad testing is the only way out of a perpetual cycle of positive caseload spikes and social distancing. We’re incredibly grateful to our community partners like the public library who are helping us reach more people for testing,” said Sara Bolton, senior vice president of Programs & Services for The Health Collaborative. “Our aim is to test as many people as possible, even repeatedly, regardless of symptoms, through the end of the year.” 

To preregister for your COVID-19 test and find locations where testing is available, please visit the Test and Protect website