BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — With much of the focus shifting to COVID home tests, testing sites in the region are experiencing a drop in demand.
“This last week it's really slowed down,” Michael Macevoy, pharmacist, Vital Pharmacy.
COVID testing cassettes are lined up inside Vital Pharmacy on the D’Youville College campus along Connecticut Street on Buffalo’s west side.
Macevoy says there is a steady flow of customers looking for COVID tests, but demand is dramatically shifting since the holidays.
“And what we are seeing is a volume that's probably only about a fifth of what it was pre-holidays,” replied Macevoy.
And to give you an idea of how the testing has slowed down, a few weeks ago a COVID testing site on Main Street in Williamsville had a line wrapped around the outside, but Thursday, just a few people were waiting for their tests.
But Macevoy tells me he still had people brave this week's snow storm for a COVID test.
“Even though we had well over a foot of snow on the ground and the streets were snow covered, we still had people waiting for us to get tested — whether it was for their employment or Canadians looking to go home,” Macevoy explained.
Macevoy says they've been administering a majority of the PCR tests to Canadians traveling back over the Peace Bridge, those traveling overseas and others who need them to enter their work place.
“A lot of people are getting home testing. We still do have employer groups who are requiring a certified or lab provided test in which case we do provide that for some antigen tests for employers,” Macevoy noted.
Macevoy says the pharmacy also has about 200 at home test kits. He says it's important to test if you have been in contact with someone with COVID three to five days after exposure for most accurate results.
“The serial testing, with antigens and home testing with antigen tests, is the gold standard for just self awareness — just to make sure the community spread is limited and that you're not spreading it to people and neighbors,” Macevoy said.
Macevoy says last weekend the pharmacy had a couple hundred Canadians who needed tests to come over the border to watch the Buffalo Bills game and then head back home. He is expecting that to happened again this weekend for the next Bills playoff game.
The Erie County Department of Health said for the week ending January 15, there were 68,513 COVID-19 tests reported for county residents, and nearly 78,000 tests reported the previous week.
The health department said it administered a small fraction of those tests, 1,500-1,700, at its sites for each week in the last two weeks.
“In December, weekly test reports for Erie County residents were generally in the 40,000s. We expanded ECDOH COVID-19 test operations this month with additional sites, expanded evening hours, and weekend appointments. Our test operations have openings each day, and we are able to accommodate appointments on the same day or next day.”