Officials warn of COVID-19 test scams as omicron cases increase

LENOIR COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – As North Carolina breaks a record for COVID-19 hospitalizations, many people continue to have trouble getting their hands on testing kits.

Chain pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS have run out of at-home COVID-19 tests at a number of locations.

For those that find them online, Lenoir County Health Director Pamela Brown says you have to be careful where you shop.

“You know there’s been so many scams associated with COVID. It’s just so heartbreaking that these things happen. Sometimes, when we’re at our most vulnerable points,” Brown said.

Some of the scams Brown speaks of are fraudulent COVID-19 tests.

Before spending your money, she encourages you to do your research.

“Know some of the primary companies that have been approved by the FDA,” Brown said. “If [you’re] doing some ordering, make sure [you] have a reputable test.”

Speaking of the FDA, the administration has a list of fake companies listed on its website.

Also, when buying an at-home test online, use your credit card so you can dispute the charge.

As we continue to navigate our way through the omicron variant surge, Dr. Brown continues to advocate for vaccinations to protect ourselves.

But, in the case where you are exposed to the virus, when is the best time for you to get tested?

“Testing around day five will give enough of that viral load to be able to show up on a test,” Brown said.

It typically takes about 15 minutes to get your results back for an at-home COVID-19 test, compared to the 1-2 day wait time for a PCR test.

If you’re having a hard time getting ahold of an at-home COVID-test, there are numerous testing sites around Eastern North Carolina. You can reach out to your local health department to find the closest site to you.

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