COVID-19 at-home test kit shortage hit ENC nonprofits

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -President Biden announced that Americans will soon be able to request free at-home COVID-19 tests by ordering them online but not everyone has reliable access to the internet.

Bishop James Tripp and Tonya Foreman have worked together throughout the pandemic to provide vaccines and test kits to those who need it most. They’re able to do that thanks to help from the non-profit CAARE and Holly Hill Free Will Baptist Church in Pitt County.

With the omicron variant spreading at an alarming rate, these tests are more important than ever. They can tell you within minutes if you should pump the brakes on visiting friends and family this Christmas or New Year.

“We have partnered with organizations like Holly Hill Baptist Church and other organizations in our county to deliver at-home COVID test for free,” Foreman said.

But supplies dwindled after a surge in cases and a surge in demand.

“There’s been very much a shortage,” Tripp said. “A lot of people have been asking for them. At the time we had given out about 65,000 test kits for free and they have 25 strips in each test kit. But now, having that shortage really concerns me.”

The type of COVID-19 test they provided for free is the Quickvue brand, which can cost as much as $30.00 over the counter.

Meanwhile, President Biden pledged to provide 500-million free at-home COVID-tests by January. The only way you can order them is online.

Internet access doesn’t come easy to many folks in rural communities so to bridge the gap, CAARE is providing a COVID resource hotline.

“Which is 252-285-6646,” Foreman said. “They can call that number and we can assist them with updated information, scheduling COVID booster appointments or vaccine appointments as well. Once this is verified and we understand the process we will assist them with getting testing kits as well.”

If you live in Pitt County you can get tested at the Vidant drive-thru testing site off Stantonsburg road.

You don’t need to register ahead of time and the site will be closed Dec. 24-26.

If you’re looking for an at-home COVID-19 test, you can find them at CVS or Walgreens. The companies are limiting how many kits you can buy.

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