SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Americans can expect to wait 7 to 12 days for their free at-home tests kits to be shipped after ordering from the new federal government portal.
In the meantime, the search for more testing availability continues in Springfield for residents and local pharmacies.
Hundreds lined up again this Tuesday for a free drive-thru site in the Hammons Field parking lot.
Staff tell OzarksFirst as of 5 p.m., it had already collected over 700 tests. Two weeks ago, the pop-up site tested about 175 people during the same time period.
One parent waiting in line this afternoon says the state-run, weekly clinic was her only option after her daughter started showing symptoms of COVID-19.
“We called the school district and they’re completely out of tests, and then we looked online for an at-home test and then we looked at all the pharmacies for actually going in and getting the test, and they’re all completely booked,” says Leslie Donegan.
She reiterates the frustration many are feeling as they find empty shelves, we’re at-home tests would be stocked, and appointments booked up several days out.
“There’s all these rules about being able to go back to school or go back to work and things like that but if you can’t get tested, how are you supposed to know if you’re really sick with COVID or you just have a cold?”
Local pharmacies also continue to try to meet the need for both symptomatic and asymptomatic residents to get tested but are coming up short.
Alps Pharmacy, which has locations in Springfield and Nixa, says due to demand, it recently took 60,000 calls from patients in one week.
Director of Community Pharmacy Erica Mahn says Alps hasn’t been able to secure any PCR test for a month.
“We have had them on order at both of our stores were going on four weeks now and when we call for an update on timing, they don’t have any
updates,” says Mahn. “We’re just stuck. We don’t have really any solution.”
Alps Pharmacy might be the best option for getting a rapid test in Springfield right now. That is if you’re willing to pay.
Next-day or even same-day tests are typically available, but fill up by noon.
Mahn says the two locations are average about 80 each day. She believes many coming in are doing so as a last resort.
“They’re honestly, probably trying to find a place to go to the doctor’s office, to go to the hospital, which I totally understand, that’s what I would do too, but in the end, they have no other options,” Mahn says. “They are having to pay the $45 or whatever it is to make sure that they get a chance to get results because they have to know.”
She says Alps is also putting in orders for at-home tests daily, but when they do arrive, the kits only spend a few minutes on the shelf.
“We have a back-order with our primary supplier and wholesaler. Maybe we’ll receive seven and then they’re gone within 30 minutes.”
With the Omicron variant still causing a surge in new cases in the Ozarks, it seems folks on both sides of the swab are now waiting for more testing supply.
The state-run drive-thru testing site will now be held each Tuesday in the Hammons Field parking lot in Springfield from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
To check testing options and availability at Alps Pharmacy locations, visit its website.