Philly’s coronavirus response

Philly is giving free COVID-19 tests to party throwers and event organizers

Party on, Philadelphia? The Health Department knows people aren’t going to stop gathering, so there’s an online application to help make it safer.

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Philadelphia Dept. of Health
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Philadelphia officials are looking to facilitate safe gathering by giving free COVID-19 rapid test kits to organizers of all sorts of events — from festivals and graduations, to weddings and funerals.

That’s a major expense to take off the budgets of party throwers and partygoers. Rapid tests for COVID-19 generally cost at least $7-$14 per test when purchased in stores, and event organizers can get two per attendee.

Event organizers must fill out an application for test kits with the Dept. of Public Health, and are asked to do so at least two weeks before their event. If approved, the organizer will be tasked with picking up the test kits and distributing them to expected attendees.

The idea is that each event guest will get one test to take before attending and one to take 3 to 5 days afterward. Organizers can also specify if they will need test instructions in languages other than English and if they need surgical masks.

The department said it will aim to serve events where test kits will be most valuable in preventing COVID-19 illness, so it’s possible that some applications will not be approved.

Priority will go to events in communities with lower access to health care resources; in areas with lower vaccination rates, higher case rates and limited testing options; where many attendees are at higher risk of severe COVID-19; and in settings where transmission risk is higher, such as indoor venues.

The city made a similar effort to provide people with free COVID tests in December, as the omicron variant surged amid the winter holidays.

The federal government is also providing another round of COVID-19 tests through the postal service, in which each home can get eight free rapid tests sent to their door.

Want some more? Explore other Philly’s coronavirus response stories.

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