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Inventory remains low for at-home COVID tests

Published: Jan. 3, 2022 at 7:48 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - While more COVID testing sites are opening, inventory remains low, especially for at-home COVID-19 tests.

“So, we’ve seen over the holidays, this past week, an increase in omicron cases which has led to a severe shortage, at least in our area for sure, on tests for COVID.” Elizabeth Hebert with Boudreaux’s New Drug Store said.

Hebert said she has seen an influx of customers picking up prescriptions after testing positive for COVID-19.

Though, getting tested isn’t easy and at-home tests are even harder to come by, selling out as pharmacies everywhere and online.

We reached out to some of the pharmacies in the area about how they are dealing with the high demand and lack of tests.

Walgreens said due to demand, it’s put a four-item purchase limit on at-home COVID-19 tests.

Walgreens: Due to the incredible demand for at-home rapid testing, we put in effect a four item purchase limit on at-home COVID-19 testing products in our stores and digital properties in an effort to help improve inventory while we continue to work diligently with our supplier partners to best meet customer demands. Purchase limits have helped us ensure that tests are available to more customers.

While Walmart tells us, nationally, its inventory is strong, but finding at-home tests at some Southwest Louisiana Walmarts could be difficult and inventory online is scarce.

Walmart: We are seeing significant demand on Covid-19 at home testing kits.  We have strong inventory levels nationally in store, however inventory is more limited online.  We have a purchase limit of 8 testing kits per online order to help ensure availability to more customers. We have not placed limits nationally for in store purchases, however each store may set its own limits based upon local inventory.

CVS has limited customers to six test kits per purchase. They say those products may be out-of-stock on their website but are still offering lab-based testing at some of their locations.

CVS: We continue to work around the clock to provide our stores with inventory of the five over-the-counter at-home COVID-19 tests we offer: Abbott BinaxNOW, Acon FlowFlex, Quidel Quickvue, Ellume, and Pixel by LabCorp. To ensure equitable access to tests both in store and digitally, we’ve added a limit of six test kits per purchase. Due to a recent surge in demand, and to retain community-based access to tests in our stores, there may be temporary out-of-stocks for these products on CVS.com. We’re committed to providing families with protection and peace of mind during the holiday season, and we continue to offer access to lab-based testing with results available in 1-2 days or rapid COVID-19 testing at more than 4,800 CVS Pharmacy locations.

It’s a busy time for all area pharmacies, and Hebert hopes the surge settles soon.

“We’re having a surge. All the pharmacies, as you can see I’m sure just living in Lake Charles, have been inundated with people who are sick. Just be patient, spatial distance when you’re in line waiting, maybe call the pharmacies before your coming in to make sure your medications are ready,” Hebert said.

Many pharmacies are still administering COVID vaccines, and some conduct onsite testing.

Boudreaux’s tells us they’re expecting a shipment of at-home tests on Tuesday.

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