Stories from the NFCCA Newsletter, the “Northwood News”

Northwood News ♦ April 2022

Community Public Services

Did You Know?  Services Available in the Community

By Melissa E. Ferguson

Greetings, neighbors!  This edition’s information sharing on public services focuses on COVID-19 at-home tests, mask rules for transit, and safely disposing of used batteries.  Please feel free to share the following information with friends and family. Information is power!

Free At-Home Test Kits, Masks

Free at-home PCR test kits for COVID-19 are available every day, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the Dennis Avenue Health Center of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, 2000 Dennis Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20902 (close to Georgia Avenue).  Test kits are for Montgomery County residents, so have a form of identification ready, such as a driver’s license or a household bill with your address.  PCR tests are processed in a laboratory to detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus in your body.  Residents register when they pick up the tests, administer them at home, and drop the test kits back at 2000 Dennis Avenue for processing.  Residents are emailed their results within 48 hours.  In-person PCR testing continues as well.  For locations and more information, visit the website at

The Wheaton library has N95 masks and at-home antigen tests for COVID-19 — the rapid tests that show results in 15 minutes — which are now available during all hours that the library is open, while supplies last.  Antigen tests look for the immune system’s response to the COVID-19 virus.  Recently my family picked up our test supplies from the Wheaton Library.  Two test kits are allowed per person, and each kit has two tests.  The boxes of N95 masks are prepacked with four masks each.  The antigen tests available at the Wheaton Library are iHealth brand tests.  I have seen some people’s nervousness over getting the test instructions wrong, so a video might help ease the nerves.  On YouTube, a video by iHealth can be found by searching for “iHealth COVID-19 antigen test” to get to

A reminder that, while local mask mandates have been lifted, that doesn’t affect the mask requirements for public transit, which is governed by federal rules.  The U.S. Department of Transportation has extended the federal mask mandate on public transit — including RideOn, Metrobus, Metro, and other commuter trains — through 18 April 2022.  RideOn bus drivers have masks for passengers boarding without them.

Used Battery Disposal

In climate protection news, please remember that used batteries don’t belong in household garbage.  Battery acids can leach into the soil, burn your hands, and start fires!  For safe disposal of batteries, take them to the County’s Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station, 16101 Frederick Road, Derwood, MD 20855 (the section of Maryland Route 355 between Rockville and Gaithersburg).  MOM’s Organic Market also recycles many types of batteries and accepts them for drop-off every day, as well as shoes, eyeglasses, cellphones, food compost, and even oyster shells!  The closest MOM’s Organic Market locations are 5566 Randolph Road, Rockville, MD 20852, and 9801 Rhode Island Avenue, College Park, MD 20740.  More information is available at

Thanks for sharing these announcements for the health, safety, and betterment of our community.  Until next time, wishing you kindness and a healthy spring!

[Melissa E. Ferguson works in grants, contracts, and project management; nonprofit and government partnership; and equitable access to health care and social services.  She has lived in North Four Corners since 2013, and Mont. County since 1996.  She is also a gardener and an aspiring novelist.]   ■

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