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COVID-19 at-home test giveaways draw massive crowds across Western New York

Free giveaways in the City of Buffalo, North Tonawanda, Amherst, Lockport, Niagara Falls, and Hamburg all run out of supplies within hours.
Posted at 5:23 PM, Jan 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-11 17:23:48-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — If you are looking for a free at-home COVID-19 test, expect to wait in a long line.

"We know its not enough," said Mayor Byron Brown, who stopped by one of five locations the City of Buffalo was giving out free at-home test kits on Tuesday morning.

The City gave all 11,000 kits they were sent by the New York State government in a matter of hours.

"We've asked the county about getting more. They've agreed, so hopefully in the near future we will get more tests," said Mayor Brown.

Hamburg also hosted a test giveaway on Riley Boulevard. They were only provided enough tests for less than 10% of the nearly 60,000 residents of Hamburg, per the town's Emergency Services Department.

Similar to the City of Buffalo, the Town of Hamburg's supply ran dry within an hour or so of beginning the giveaway.

"We are going to learn from this experience, and be ready for the high demand next time around," said Randy Hoak, Hamburg Town Supervisor.

Niagara Falls, Lockport, North Tonawanda, and Amherst also hosted giveaways over the weekend. Police on scene told 7News that residents were lining up hours before the giveaways began to get their test kits.


  • Make sure to check expiration dates before using. Most at-home test kits expire in about a three month time frame, where they are rendered ineffective.

This is an "IHealth" rapid antigen at-home test given out in Buffalo this morning. It expires on May 23rd, 2022.

  • Let your test settle to room temperature before using.

Per the IHealth website (tests given away in Buffalo on Tuesday), tests should be stored between 36-86 degrees. If tests are stored at lower or higher temperatures: "any extended exposure of the test kit to temperatures beyond this range may affect quality of test results." There is a warning on the back of the test.

  • COVID-19 rapid antigen tests are not a replacement for PCR tests, and are not admissible for cross-border travel.