Virginia woman on 'frustrating' COVID-19 test search: 'There’s nothing to be had'

Posted at 6:10 PM, Dec 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-27 11:27:46-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Coming out of Christmas, a lot of Virginians are trying to get their hands on an at-home COVID-19 testing kit, but most are coming up short.

"It's annoying, and it's frustrating," said Cindy Richards about her efforts to find a test. “If you Google online how to find a test, I’ve checked every box and there’s nothing to be had.”

Cindy Richards
Cindy Richards

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Richards said her daughter tested positive for coronavirus Sunday morning, and Richards now has mild symptoms. However, finding a rapid test for herself has proved to be a challenge.

“I’ve gone online to every Better Med between Fredericksburg and Tappahannock and same with CVS and Walgreens," she said. "And I've even tried to call pharmacies to see if they have any of the at-home tests available.”

The earliest test she could secure would've been Dec. 30, but Richards fears she exposed family members over the holidays and wants to know her results as soon as possible.

“I’m also concerned about everybody that I've seen, including my 89-year-old parents," she explained.

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Richards isn't alone in her struggles to find a test. As cases surge and the Omicron variant spreads, demand for testing has skyrocketed.

Officials with the Virginia Department of Health said more than 100,000 at-home tests were sent to libraries across the state, but they're all gone.

Dr. Melissa Viray
Dr. Melissa Viray with the Richmond-Henrico Health Districts

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"We've definitely wiped out the supplies that we've had," said Dr. Melissa Viray with the Richmond-Henrico Health Districts. "But if there are any other opportunities that come up, we're also going to be posting those as they come live."

Pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS are trying to get more tests on the shelves, but they're running into supply chain issues.

Additionally, local health districts have been directed to ramp up testing events this coming week to meet demand. Dr. Viray said Richmond and Henrico are still confirming the final details of their events.

“As soon as we're able to confirm those dates, we will be posting them on the website," she said.

COVID tests
COVID tests

Part of the long-term solution includes a recent announcement from President Joe Biden. He said there are plans to send 500,000 million Americans an at-home testing kit through the mail starting in January. However, limited information on how the process will work has been released.

Thankfully, Richards said a friend had an extra test for her, and she believes she'll avoid a severe case of COVID-19 thanks to her vaccine. However, she said she's still not sure what to expect as far as the future of the pandemic.

“I feel like it's going to get worse before it gets better," Richards said. "I kind of feel like the tsunami is just starting.”

Mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Richmond Raceway.

Virginians age 5+ are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine. Pre-registration is no longer required,so go to Vaccine Finderto search for specific vaccines available near you or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-275-8343).

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People are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
What you can and should not do once you have been fully vaccinated.

How to Protect Yourself and Others When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated

COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.

We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions—like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces—in public places until we know more.

These recommendations can help you make decisions about daily activities after you are fully vaccinated. They are not intended for healthcare settings.

Click here for more information from the Virginia Department of Health.