HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – Right now, many local pharmacies are sold out of COVID-19 at-home tests as people are getting ready to spend time with loved ones.
Many people who are visiting with friends and family say they want a test to make sure they aren’t positive, but many store shelves are empty.
Christian Tori is a driver for DoorDash. Friday, he got an order for a COVID-19 test, but the Walgreens at 21st Street in Norfolk was all out.
“I asked the employee, ‘Hey, where are the COVID tests?' They’re like, 'We’re out,'” Tori said.
Tori said a few days ago he delivered at-home COVID-19 tests to several people and the store was stocked with tests, but Thursday, there were none left.
“We’re seeing high demand and low supply at this point,” said Dr. Ryan Light with the Tidewater Physicians Multispecialty Group.
“I think we should’ve been better prepared,” said David Lassalle.
He said everyone his family is meeting with this holiday has three shots.
Eric Acra said his wife was prepared when she ordered four tests on Amazon two days ago. He said the tests just arrived today.
“That’s why she’s the boss,” Acra said.
Acra said his family plans to take them before meeting up with loved ones on Christmas Eve.
News 3 called over to several local pharmacies. We were told by many of them that they are out of at-home tests and hope to get more in as soon as possible.
You can schedule COVID-19 tests at certain pharmacies, but many are not available until next week.
Walgreens, Amazon and CVS recently announced that they are limiting the number of tests people are allowed to buy.
“People are trying to go visit family and they want to get a test prior to going, so we’re seeing some fly off the shelves. Now they’re putting limits on it,” Light said.
Light also said even if you are vaccinated with a booster, people still need to take precautions. He said tests can be wrong or give you a false sense of security.
“Still wear a mask and have good hand hygiene. If you’re feeling sick, don’t go, and even a test could be false,” Light said. “Stay home if you don’t feel good so we are not giving the gift of COVID to anybody else.”
Below is more information from the Virginia Department of Health:
"Getting tested might be a good idea for those who plan to be indoors with people they don’t know or people who are vulnerable to COVID-19, such as the elderly or immunocompromised. As always, we recommend people stay home if they feel sick. We offer an interactive map to find testing locations on the VDH website. You can narrow down your search by location and the type of test. Self-administered rapid tests kits can be found at local pharmacies, including Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid. The kits are hard to come by in some localities, but you can check stock on the pharmacies’ website. Self-tests are most accurate for people with a “high probability” of infection — such as those with symptoms or a known exposure. Repeating the test over a few days can increase confidence in the accuracy of a negative result.
Some of the libraries have run out of testing kits but more are on the way.
It is possible that the increased demand for testing right now is a combination of the upcoming holiday season (which often includes travel and gathering with family and friends) and concerns about the Omicron variant.
Through our partnership with Walgreens pharmacy, VDH continues to offer free COVID-19 antigen tests (using Abbott BinaxNOW tests) at many stores across the state. Please visit the VDH testing locator, the website of your local health department, or websites of pharmacies to find appointments near you.
VDH encourages community members in need of testing to check the VDH testing locator page [vdh.virginia.gov] for testing resources available in your community. Access to free rapid test kits may be available in your community. Please check the Supporting Testing Access through Community Collaboration (STACC) website for more information."