At-home COVID test kits sold-out across Tampa Bay, pharmacies can’t keep them in stock

Pinellas County

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (WFLA) – Longtime pharmacist, Dr. Nicolette Matthey, says she’s never been this busy in her career.

This past Monday, her business, Palm Harbor Pharmacy, set a record as her staff tested more than 50 people for COVID-19 in one day.

“I don’t think anyone thought this pandemic would be possible,” Dr. Mathey. “I can’t believe all day, all we’re doing is COVID tests.” 

Her staff at Palm Harbor pharmacy is seeing a large number of positive cases right now as they test people all day, every day. 

“All of a sudden with this huge surge, no one really predicted or prepared for, we have patients booking tests online quicker than we can even print out their paperwork,” Dr. Mathey said. 

If someone did choose an at-home test, 8 On Your Side wanted to know how effective it is. 

“If someone is having symptoms, those at-home tests can pick it up,” she explained. “It’s just if you’ve been exposed, those at-home tests won’t be able to pick it up as well.”

Also, when it comes to the at-home tests, pharmacists say people often will not perform the test properly, particularly how far the swab is placed in the nostril. It goes deeper when performed by a professional. 

“How many of us can do a nasal swab properly is the thing, so if you don’t do it properly, it’s not a valid test,” Dr. Mathey noted.

The question is, can you find an at-home test to purchase?

8 On Your Side visited multiple CVS and Walgreens locations, and we could not find any tests. They were sold out at every location. 

According to an employee at a Tampa CVS location, the store goes through 100 cases per day and is usually sold out by noon. We were told this has been the norm for the past month. 

An employee at a Tampa Walgreens location told us the store sells roughly 80 to 100 tests per day. They, too, were sold out when we inquired about purchasing a test. We found that Amazon sells at-home tests range in cost anywhere from $23.99 to 39.99. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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