Nationwide at-home Covid-19 tests shortage, Lowcountry residents struggle to find home kits in the pharmacies, report

Charleston, South Carolina – Americans struggle to find at-home test kids for Covid-19 in the last couple of weeks, a problem that stemmed from the rising number of Covid-19 cases lately and therefore the increase of testing requests nationwide.

The problem is more or less present everywhere in almost every single state across the country. So is the case in South Carolina and the Lowcountry area where local residents are having hard times to find at-home kits in the pharmacies.

However, health experts believe that the tests shortage is not really a big deal since they are not suitable for everyone and once one gets a positive test, they are required to double check their results with a PCR test afterwards.

“They basically asses a specific protein from a viral load that you may have at that point in time. They are rapid and result in 15 to 30 minutes,” said Chad Straughan, pharmacist at Tidewater Pharmacy.

The rapid at-home tests cost anywhere from $20 to $60. So far, the FDA has approved several brands that can be found in the pharmacies. Every kit comes with nasal swabs, reagent, and a test card.

“They have been on backorder for quite some time in the marketplace. I don’t think anyone in town currently has them, but I do know the manufacturers are ramping up in production,” said Straughan.

But this kind of tests are simply not suitable for everyone. According to Dr. Straughan, every person should carefully follow the written instructions in the tests, especially when you are using the nasal swab in order to get accurate result.

“Insert the swab up into the nostril far enough, and leave it there. Rotate for 15 seconds, but especially pay attention when you are using the nasal swab,” he said.

Those who will get a positive test are advised to make a PCR test to confirmed the results. Those who have symptoms, but got negative at-home test, are also advised to make a PCR test to make sure they don’t have the virus.

While the country is facing with serious at-home tests shortage, Dr. Anthony Fauci on Monday said he expects the shortage to be solved by the middle of January. Tidewater Pharmacy said they should have 1,000 at-home COVID-19 test kits by Friday afternoon.

Monica Doyle


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