Demand for COVID-19 tests rises as supply is declining


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Trying to prove you do not have coronavirus could be somewhat of a struggle. The demand for COVID-19 tests is increasing and many are finding it difficult to find the tools needed for testing.

There are two types of COVID-19 tests. The first is a molecular lab test (PCR / NAAT) which can have results in about two days. The second is a rapid-result test that can provide results in hours.

A search of CVS’ website on Wednesday Sept. 8, showed very few appointment times available in the Roanoke area.

The earliest appointment for a rapid-result test was Monday, Sept. 13 in Christiansburg and Radford. The earliest PCR test was Thursday, Sept. 9 in Collinsville, Martinsville and Chatham. All three locations are around an hour to an hour and a half from Roanoke.

When asked if CVS is experiencing a shortage of rapid tests, spokesperson Amy Thibault provided the following answer:

“We continue to be able to meet the demand for COVID-19 testing in most locations, even with increasing numbers of patients seeking out tests at one of our more than 4,800 CVS Pharmacy locations across the country offering testing with same day and future day appointments in most geographies. Patients have the option to schedule an appointment for either a rapid COVID-19 test, with results available within hours, or a COVID-19 test at the pharmacy drive-thru windows. The self-swab collected at the CVS Pharmacy drive-thru window is processed by an independent, third-party lab and those results are generally available within one to two days. In addition, CVS stores across the country offer multiple over-the-counter COVID-19 test kits, allowing patients to self-test at home. We are experiencing high demand for over-the-counter testing products and are working with our suppliers to meet that demand. In the event that any of our stores experience a temporary shortage, we will re-supply them as quickly as possible.”

“Testing is in high demand right now, especially rapid antigen home tests,” said Dr. Noelle Bissell, director of the New River Health District. “We do not have rapid home tests to distribute, but they are available online (one of my staff got them in two days from Our tests are usually back in about 36 hours from Fralin (PCR).

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