SPRINGFIELD TWP. Pa. - These days, if a person gets so much as the sniffles, right away the concern is if it's COVID or not. That’s why over the counter, at-home rapid COVID tests are so popular. But the problem is finding one.
"I was feeling really sick" said Kevin Mahoney, of Wallingford. After developing some symptoms last month, he wondered if he had COVID, so he tried to buy an at-home rapid antigen test at a local pharmacy to calm his fears.
"They were all sold out at CVS and the other CVS’s in the local area. Really tough to get" Mahoney commented. He had to wait for a test to be unloaded off a CVS delivery truck. Thankfully, the test turned out negative for COVID-19.
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The rapid tests, which sell in pharmacies for about $25, may be harder to find than some of the hottest holiday toys. FOX 29’s Chris O’Connell went on a trip to see how fast he could find a rapid test. He checked with dozens of pharmacies across the area and searched online. A majority of CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens stores from Delaware and Chester counties to Wilmington, Delaware all showed the tests were "Out of Stock".
No rapid tests at the independent Broad and Snyder Pharmacy in South Philly. The owner, Kevin Lam, says over-the-counter tests are great for a quick read but people may want to get a PCR test to be sure. Those tests are more reliable, but could take up to 48 hours to find out results.
"I would suggest you make your way out to get a PCR test. Those are by far the most accurate on the market right now" Lam remarked.
After driving three hours through Delaware, Montgomery and Chester counties, O’Connell finally found the Walgreens in South Philadelphia had some tests for sale.
The Biden administration announced Wednesday it is buying a $1 billion worth of rapid tests to distribute nationwide. The hope is to quadruple the number of rapid tests by December. For those giving the tests, any help is a relief.
"We need another avenue to help people out. The vaccines, the tests, we’re all in this together. We got to get people vaccinated, get people checked out and make sure they don’t spread COVID" Lam added.