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Demand for testing increases as COVID cases spike in San Antonio and across the country

The Biden administration had pledged to provide 500 million at-home rapid test kits come the new year.

SAN ANTONIO — Americans are lining up in droves for COVID-19 tests while coronavirus cases continue to climb nationwide.

At-home testing kits are harder to come by as pharmacies are left with empty shelves.

“Walgreens, CVS, were completely out of the at-home test,” said San Antonio resident Elizabeth Bryand.   

Bryand was recently exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

She ended up scheduling an appointment for Monday morning at the Curative COVID testing site off Fredericksburg road.  

“We just wanna be safe. We wanna make sure our friends and family stay safe,” Bryand said.

The shortage of at-home testing kits comes amid the highly-transmissible omicron variant and families gathering for the holiday season.

“The spread of Omicron has caused so much new infection that individuals are justifiably interested in finding out where their status is,” said Dr. Fred Campbell, associate professor and internal medicine physician at UT Health San Antonio.

Campbell noted he’s impressed with Bexar County’s vaccination rates where 66.3% of residents are fully vaccinated and 80% have received at least one dose.

The City of San Antonio online hub provides information about coronavirus testing sites across Bexar County.

See the interactive map below for free testing locations through a partnership with Curative around the city:

Many private urgent care locations and freestanding ER clinics around the San Antonio are also offering COVID-19 testing, but some are by appointment only due to limited supply. Check with the individual clinics to verify.

Meanwhile, the federal government plans to purchase and deliver 500 million free at-home testing kits by January.

The Biden administration is still working out how the rapid test kits will be distributed.

“They appear to be at least 85% or higher in their reliability compared to the PCR testing that takes longer,” Campbell noted of at-home COVID tests while citing Yale University’s medical letter.

As for Bryand, she had no problem waiting in line for 15 minutes for her PCR test.

 “I trust the process a little more. You might mess up at home.”