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Demand for at-home COVID tests goes up as holidays approach

Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 11:43 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2021 at 6:22 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - In no time, you’ll be grabbing a turkey, your Christmas tree and everything in between, but before meeting up with family and friends for the holidays, state officials are urging people to get tested for COVID.

At-home tests are faster and there’s no waiting around for results. While this sounds more convenient than scheduling an appointment and waiting around to see if the test is positive, these at-home tests are hard to come by.

“I can’t believe you know,” Michele Brown, who has had a hard time finding at-home tests ahead of the holidays said. “You want us to stay healthy but no one can keep these in stock.”

After several stops, she found some at a pharmacy in Barre.

“I have people coming to my house and I want to make sure everyone that has tested positive is negative before they come in and hang with family and just do the cautious part of it,” Brown said.

The owner of Lakeside Pharmacy in Burlington, Kyle Maxwell, said they have a hard time keeping the tests in stock. He said they get about 10 calls a day asking about them, so the shelves are immediately emptied.

“Essentially every time we try to order them in, they don’t have any or they limit the amount we can get,” Maxwell explained. “If we see it’s in stock, we get as many as we can, but they might only send us two at a time.”

Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said getting together for Thanksgiving can be risky. While he says rapid-antigen tests are useful, being vaccinated is still the best way to protect yourself.

“Rapid response time of a test, like an antigen test, to help manage your life and help you understand if you should be going to that event that night and what have you,” he said.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott said if a supply chain issue is what’s keeping rapid-antigen tests off the shelves, it’s something he’ll address with the White House.

In the past two weeks, COVID cases have spiked 64% in Vermont. That isn’t expected to stop soon, with health officials soon expecting up to 800 daily cases.

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