At-home COVID test kits in short supply before Thanksgiving

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — If you’re looking for at-home COVID test kits before your Thanksgiving dinner, you may need to shop around.

The Problem Solvers found multiple stores in the metro area completely sold out of kits Wednesday afternoon as many look to ensure safe gatherings Thursday.

At CareNow Urgent Care Denver, Dr. Mark Montano said they have been busy performing tests as well.

“I really think people are trying to do what’s best for their family,” he said. “I think it’s helping them as they make that decision to spend time with family and friends.”

Montano said at this point, it’s likely too late to receive PCR test results from a hospital or urgent care before Thanksgiving dinner, as the tests typically take 24-74 hours for results.

That’s leading many to turn to at-home COVID test kits, which typically cost anywhere between $10-$15 per test.

“They’re a really easy way have a little bit more confidence if you’re meeting with family members, that you’re doing so safely,” he said.

Who should get COVID test priority?

But with the tests in short supply, family members may need to prioritize who gets one and who doesn’t. 

“The unvaccinated people should be tested before vaccinated people,” Dr. Jared Eddy with National Jewish Health said. “If you have several people who are unvaccinated, then you would pick the person who’s most likely to be carrying COVID because of their job or day-to-day exposures they may have.”

Both doctors say negative tests, especially among vaccinated people, can likely be treated as such, giving you the comfort to safely gather. 

Positive tests should be treated with caution, and should always be followed up with a test from a different brand, or preferably, a PCR test at an urgent care center or doctor’s office.

“If you test positive, then you would act as if you have COVID-19,” Eddy said. “If the virus is going to spread and find hosts, times like Thanksgiving, where people are together, are when it could do that.”

Both doctors say you can take the test the night before or the day of your gathering and should read the instructions carefully

“I think we have to trust these tests,” Montano said. “There’s always some risk that there might be a false negative, but if we have a negative result, and we’ve done the test properly, I would trust that, and I’d enjoy my time with my family.”

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