As demand for COVID-19 test kits increases, stores limit kit purchases per customer

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Posted at 6:14 PM, Jan 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-04 18:14:46-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — As Omicron cases increase throughout the state, Western New Yorkers are looking for COVID-19 testing sites, but some said it's not easy.

"It wasn't easy to find where we old get tested, luckily we have phones today,” Johnny Verhagen said. "This morning took a lot of our time to figure out where we could get tested."

National testing sites like Walgreens said it is seeing unprecedented demand for testing, it said they are working closely with labs to expand testing capacity while minimizing turnaround times.

Johnny Verhagen said he tried to find an appointment for a test at a chain pharmacy near his home on Grand Island but couldn't, so he drove into Buffalo.

"It’s a little upsetting," Verhagen said.

As new test sites open up, like the Northwest Community Buffalo Center, pharmacists and retailers said they're still having a hard time keeping at home tests on their shelves.

"The challenge is, there's such a tremendous demand," Pharmacist Bradley Arthur said.

Bradley Arthur is the managing partner at the Black Rock Pharmacy in Buffalo he said 80% of the calls he's getting are about home tests.

"I got several dozen tests in yesterday and they're already gone," Arthur said.

According to the Erie County Department of Health, COVID-19 case numbers are at the highest they've been since the start of the pandemic.

"That's kind of fueling this sense that people need to access testing more readily," Arthur said.

Wegmans and CVS said it has a purchase limit of six at home tests. Walgreens said the purchase limit at their stores is four. And Arthur said he is limiting the amount of at home tests at Black Rock to three to five per customer.

"My goal is to be able to get them to as many possible patients as possible," Arthur said.

Retailers like Tops, Wegmans, CVS and Walgreens said they are working with several vendors to get more kits to meet rising demand.

Arthur said Western New Yorkers can call ahead to ask about availability.

"Just telling people to call back on Thursday or Friday," Arthur said. “Hopefully we will have some more test kits in."