No matter who you are, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a life-altering series of ups and downs, dashed hopes, alternate plans, shimmers of goodness, lessons learned, and so many feelings we didn't even know we had. Missoula seems to be at the point in our COVID journey where people are too exhausted to argue about masks and it feels like everyone has had, currently has, or is on their second run of being COVID positive.

If you received a link from friends saying you can get free at-home COVID tests in Missoula, it's legit. Here's more about that, where to get a drive-thru test, and what to do if you test positive.

Now you can get 4 free tests in the mail without leaving your home.

This is the link everyone is sharing to order free COVID-19 tests. Some Missoulians aren't sure if they should click on it because the offer seems like spam, but it is not. I've done this myself; it's very simple. Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order free at-home COVID-⁠19 tests that arrive in 4-packs with orders set to ship in 7-12 days.

You give your name, email, and mailing address and you will have the 4-pack of tests shipped directly to your home totally free. You don't even pay for shipping. Order yours here. You may not need them right now, but you may later, as we have learned when it comes to the pandemic, expect the unexpected.

It was also recently announced that the Biden administration will be giving out free N95 masks to pharmacies and community health centers.

But you can find At Home Tests in Missoula, too. 

Many of these sold out during Missoula's recent spike in Omicron cases. I see the Walgreens on Brooks still has a sign posted that says they are out of tests. However, I'm told at home COVID tests are in stock at the Walgreens on North Reserve and at both Walmart stores.

You can also order online and on Amazon, 2 tests for about $20, but who wants to wait that long?
You can also order online and on Amazon, 2 tests for about $20, but who wants to wait that long?
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And you can still get an in-person COVID test at these clinics.

The Missoula County Health Department continues to be the best source for the most up-to-date COVID-19 information. Keep in mind, the Lucky's location is closed and they are now a drive-thru location at 3665 West Broadway. Turn on Flynn Lane, drive past the parking lot, and you'll see the lanes for drive-thru testing. You can request an appointment online HERE, and the staff will call back within a few hours to book your drive-thru time. When you arrive, a health professional swabs your nose, each side for 15 seconds, and they text the results to you within 24-48 hours. They will also give you a receipt that works as a doctor's note for school or work, so even if you test negative, the note will show that you were instructed to stay home pending your results.

Missoulians are also having success getting tested at the Community First Care locations at North Reserve, also in the Tremper's Shopping Center, and at All Nations Health Center. All Nations' website is currently under maintenance so calling is best: 829-9515.

Did you test positive for COVID? Here's what to do next: 

Missoula continues to follow CDC guidelines for those who test positive for the Omicron variant.

People with COVID-19 should isolate for 5 days and if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), follow that by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others to minimize the risk of infecting people they encounter. The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after.

Have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine? Keep reading:

Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.

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