Local shortage of at-home COVID-19 tests
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - As the omicron variant is surging across the country and Kentucky, the demand for rapid at-home COVID test kits is on the rise.
Many pharmacies online suppliers are out of stock.
Currently local CVS stores, Walgreens, Meijer, and Walmart are all out of stock in-stores at-home rapid COVID-19 tests. Walmart does have available tests available for purchase online, but it is a minimum of 3 days to ship.
Sheldon’s Pharmacy does not sell at-home rapid COVID-19 tests.
”The only testing that’s differentiating which variant it is are tests that are sent to the state lab. That is our knowledge as of today that there could be some additional lab that’s doing some variant testing for the state of Kentucky. I do know that there was a process in place through the Kentucky Department of public health for some specimens to make their way to the Kentucky state lab and they are able to differentiate whether it’s the omicron variant. Of course we’re still seeing some Delta Variant in our area as well, but the main thing is just to understand if we have COVID or not. You know, a lot of folks want to know, ‘Do I have the Delta Variant or do I have omicron variant?’ said Dennis Chaney, Vice President, Ancillary Services at Med Center Health.
The fast-spreading omicron coronavirus variant is causing a surge in the purchasing of at-home COVID-19 tests.
The demand is so intense, two of the largest pharmaceutical chain stores in the U.S, CVS Health and Walgreens, are limiting the number of tests a person can buy.
In a statement Tuesday, CVS said they were limiting purchases to six test kits to “ensure equitable access to tests both in-store and digitally.”
Walgreens said they’re limiting it to four test kits per purchase.
”As contagious as this variant is, this omicron is, you know folks want to know whether or not that they have COVID, either that they’ve been exposed or they want to decide if they can continue participating in social activities. So, I view it as something very positive and responsible, you know that folks are buying up these at home tests because they want to understand what their condition is, whether they have COVID or not. But even at that, we just have to be mindful that we can be contagious 1-2 days before the onset of symptoms and that’s something that we all need to be mindful of and that’s information that the CDC has released,” Chaney said.
President Joe Biden says the federal government will buy half a billion COVID-19 rapid test kits and distribute them free of charge to people to use at home. But despite the high public demand for tests, it will still be several more weeks before these kits are available to be shipped. The administration is still working on details for how the program will work.
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