COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The Ohio Department of Health said it has distributed more than 5.2 million rapid antigen COVID-19 test kits this year, and now the supply is dwindling.
An ODH spokesperson said there’s a very small amount remaining, and those are specifically reserved for immediate emergency needs.
There are some options still out there, though very few if you’re looking for a test before New Year’s Eve.
As 2021 ends, many Ohioans are searching high and low for the at-home rapid antigen tests.
Stock is extremely low and the federal rollout of 500 million kits is set for January.
“In the context in what’s happening now. I wish we had them available today,” said Dr. Joseph Gastaldo with OhioHealth.
ODH distributed 1. 4 million testing kits in December because of the latest case surge and the holidays. It’s currently waiting on an order of 400,000 test kits.
Local pharmacies are looking to re-stock on those at-home kits as well and several of their in-person clinics are already booked up.
Gastaldo wants to remind people not to go to hospital emergency rooms for a COVID-19 test. Doing so puts a strain on resources and takes care away from patients with an actual emergency.
“I know some urgent cares have operationalized people getting tested without being seen there as a patient,” Gastaldo said. “At OhioHealth, at one time, we were actually giving free home antigen tests from the Ohio Department of Health, but unfortunately, that supply has run out.”
Gastaldo said OhioHealth is offering its patients PCR tests , of which he said there is no shortage. PCR tests, however, take a few days in order to receive results.
“That test is a snapshot in time, so hypothetically if you get a negative PCR test today, tomorrow or the next day it may not be a negative test, so when it comes to testing before getting together, the best way to do it would be right before you get together,” he said.
Gastaldo suggests that if you are planning to get together for New Year’s to think twice about it. If it’s an indoor gathering he added it’s best to stick with people you know that are vaccinated and boosted.