MINNEAPOLIS — Just five days left until Christmas, and COVID-19 cases in places like New York surging, people are noting that getting a coronavirus test involves standing in long lines, often out in the cold weather.
Now it feels like at-home test kits would come in handy. However, finding one right now to be delivered before the holidays can be a little dicey. Many places are out of stock online, at least in terms of delivery.
Finding a place where you can find them in person is also a hit-or-miss. Some pharmacy locations carry them, but you'd have to ask around, in order to prevent aimlessly driving to different locations.
Abbott, the manufacturer of BinaxNOW the rapid COVID-19 antigen test, sent this statement when asked about their production schedule:
"I can tell you that we're seeing unprecedented demand for BinaxNOW and we're sending them out as fast as we can make them. Despite public health guidance over the summer that caused the market for rapid testing to plummet, we never stopped making tests. Today, we're back up to making well over 50 million BinaxNOW tests per month and we're heading to 70 million a month in January. This includes running our U.S. manufacturing facilities 24/7, hiring more workers and investing in automation. There are currently tens of millions of BinaxNOW tests in various settings and supply chains, and we work closely with our customers – including retailers, schools and universities, employers, and state public health officials – to ensure tests get to where they're needed most."
In terms of alternatives, finding a rapid testing site could be one solution.
Center for COVID Control, an organization based in Chicago, just opened up in St. Anthony Village in time for people to pop in before going to holidays gatherings.
"To just get as many people tested and just give people the option to quarantine if possible, so I would say our main goal is to stop COVID, or at least help prevent the spread of COVID -- is more specific," Center for COVID Control regional manager Michael Bueno said.
No matter the size of the gathering, testing still remains an important part of conscientious COVID protocol.
"Traveling from Washington right now," one customer said, as he self-swabbed his nose. "Figured I should get tested before I see the rest of the family."
"There's a reason we're in a global pandemic right now so it doesn't matter how many people the gathering is," Bueno said. "It's super important to come in, at least three days before a holiday, any holiday, and get tested. It's a simple five minute process, all you have to do is wait five mins to see 100% if you're COVID positive or COVID negative."
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