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Shortage continues for at-home COVID-19 tests

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Posted at 7:36 PM, Jan 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-04 22:56:39-05

A significant number of Central Coast pharmacies are reporting that they are out of COVID-19 tests following the holiday weekend.

The shortage of at-home COVID-19 tests is leaving local pharmacies scratching their heads wondering when their next shipment could arrive.

People in need of tests in a timely manner are running out of options with the scarcity of COVID-19 tests under short notice.

“Over the last week, the biggest push for the at-home tests have been people traveling, people going to New Year’s Eve parties, and kids going back to school,” said En Soleil Pharmacy Inc. CEO, Scott Guess.

“It just depends on demand and supply. All of a sudden we saw that all of the testing kits have gone from the market,” said Morro Bay Drug and Gift Pharmacist Sumanta Paul.

“I got 45 tests the week before Christmas Tuesday, they were gone by Thursday afternoon, and I haven’t had them since,” said Guess.

With at-home testing kits flying off shelves, there has been no estimated time of their return.

“We have been out of stock for weeks before the holidays, especially from the Christmas travel,” said Guess.

Local pharmacists are continuing their efforts of getting the at-home tests to their shelves as soon as possible.

“We go log onto the wholesaler every morning, see if they have any tests, if they do, we order them and send the order right then and there because if you wait more than an hour they are gone,” said Guess.

Other pharmacies are running low on rapid antigen tests.

“We have the PCR on site, but the rapid antigen is cheaper and takes less time than the PCR. Since it is a more expensive test, people don’t want to do it unless they need it,” said Paul.

The immediate need for testing is generating longer wait times at clinics.

“We are seeing record numbers of patients across the country, in our state, in our county, and in this clinic as well,” said MedStop Urgent Care Center Medical Director, Dr. Brian Roberts.

“If everybody wants the same service at the same time that puts a lot of pressure on us,” said Paul.

Medical professionals are continuing to try and provide a safe environment in their clinics during the rise of patient numbers.

“We have a lot of efforts, cleaning rooms, making sure we’re using sterile techniques, that we’re taking care of people in the most efficient and effective way, and that is not always quick,” said Roberts.

The Veteran’s Memorial Building in San Luis Obispo is one of the sites community members can get tested from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

To find other testing sites visit this website.

The most effective and accurate test still is the PCR test; however, the results do take the longest to receive.

Home antigen tests perform well with sick patients.

False-negative results continue to be an issue with exposure to non-sick cases.

It is recommended to repeat an antigen test in 1-2 days if possible.