King County plans to distribute 300,000 coronavirus at-home test kits to community groups, health centers, libraries and other congregate locations amid a surge in cases.

The first 100,000 kits are expected to arrive the second week of January, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced Tuesday. The rest will arrive shortly after, the county said in a news release.

“Having test results in minutes, not hours, is an important part of keeping people safe and healthy during this surge of cases. These kits will help residents make swifter and more informed decisions on how to prevent further infections, and know whether to stay home,” Constantine said in a news release. “We know the demand for tests has increased in recent weeks and supplies are constrained, and more help is on the way from the federal and state governments. But we can’t wait.”

The kits, Constantine said, will add capacity to a testing network provided by Public Health – Seattle & King County and its partners that has been stretched thin. Some King County-operated test sites, which already had high volumes and long wait times, had to close or reduce hours because of the snowy weather.

Pharmacies throughout the region have also reported increasingly high demand for at-home coronavirus tests over the past few weeks. Bartell Drugs said in a statement last week that demand is “simply outpacing supply from manufacturers in many parts of the country.”

Walgreens and CVS locations around the state are also struggling to meet demand. Walgreens last week implemented a four-item purchase limit on at-home coronavirus testing products to “help improve inventory,” said Emily Hartwig-Mekstan, a company communications director.

President Joe Biden announced last week that the federal government will purchase 500 million at-home tests for Americans and set up a website for test deliveries. The King County tests were bought on the open market, the county said, though it didn’t provide additional information on where the tests were purchased.

King County will provide more details on how tests will be distributed and how residents can access tests when the first shipment is delivered, the county said.

Seattle Times reporter Elise Takahama contributed to this report.