At-home COVID tests hard to find amid holiday surge in cases

Coronavirus

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia health officials are gearing up for a post-holiday COVID surge as Omicron cases rise nationwide and as Virginians return from traveling. Cases have been rapidly rising, the commonwealth saw a single day increase of 8,756 new infections on Christmas Eve. That is the highest point in nearly a year.

In addition, getting a COVID test remains a struggle. High volume and long wait lines are an issue at urgent care facilities in Virginia like Patient First and Better Med. If you try to make an appointment for a COVID test in Central Virginia, you’ll likely find there’s “no available times” until next week.

High demand and supply chain shortage are making it difficult to find an at-home testing kit as well. A new supply of testing kits delivered to the Carytown CVS were flying off the shelves Monday. Nearby, at the Carytown Walgreens, the store shelves were empty. 8News also found Target is limiting sales of the tests.

“It definitely looks like we are starting into this post-holiday surge,” said Virginia’s Veterinary Epidemiologist Dr. Brandy Darby. 

The doctor said the Virginia Department of Health is prepping for post-holiday spike

“Our team of case investigators and contact tracers who are ready to man this surge as best we can,” she said.

However, Darby tells us not every exposure will be notified. “What we are going to do is prioritize case investigation and contact tracing for high-risk situations, for example congregate living situations, like nursing homes,” said Darby.

In the meantime, health officials say as cases rise, it might be a good idea to re-think those big New Year’s Eve parties. “Maybe enjoying it close to home with a couple close friends or loved ones who are fully vaccinated, is the way to go,” Darby suggested.

Testing events will be held this week at the following locations:

  • Richmond’s Second Baptist Church will be open from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday
  • The Eastern Henrico Rec Center will offer tests from 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday
  • Chesterfield’s Faith and Family Community Center will also be open Wednesday from 3 to 5 p.m.
  • The Brunswick County Conference Center will have tests from 2 to 5 p.m. on Thursday

If you are feeling sick and you can’t get a test, Dr. Darby says you should isolate to prevent further transmission. The Virginia Department of Health offers more suggestions to those who suspect the exposure to the virus here: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/protect-yourself/what-to-do-if-you-have-confirmed-or-suspected-coronavirus-disease-covid-19/

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