COVID-19 testing demand on the rise

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — These days, hunting for a home testing kit is like trying to find that toy every kid wants under the tree Christmas morning.

“I just checked my wholesaler before you came in. They have four test available for the whole country. And I ordered all four tests.” Says Dave Miller, the owner of Keystone Pharmacy on Cascade Road near I-96.

Big box stores like Walgreens are able to stock some of the home kits but are limiting the number you can buy.

The current COVID-19 surge is only part of the problem.

Large buyers, like cruise lines and other companies that require tests, are also driving up the demand.

Now, the federal government plans to make home tests available. 

“All of those tests are being diverted away from pharmacy public use into the federal government stockpiles,” said Miller.

Your next best bet is a testing site, but you may find limits to that alternative as well.

Spectrum Health began limiting testing at their drive-up sites to those showing COVID-19 symptoms a few months ago, at the beginning of the latest surge.

TACKL Health at the Gerald R Ford Airport is still offering drive up testing with no appointment necessary.

So are pharmacies like Keystone, which offers a Rapid, PCR and a triple test that detects COVID-19 and Influenza’s A and B.

Results are available anywhere from five to 30 minutes, depending on the test.

“We have people come through our drive through, they self-swab their nose, and then we run the test for them,” said Miller.

If you choose the drive-up method, you may need to bring your wallet.

At many drive-up locations, testing costs are covered by insurance or CARES Act funding, depending on if you’ve been exposed to someone with the virus or are showing COVID-19 symptoms.

But while insurance may reimburse you, some sites require those with no symptoms to pay up front. 

Anywhere from $75 to $150 for the test offered by Keystone.

But with holiday COVID-19 concerns on the rise. many see it as a small price to pay for some peace of mind.

“We get a lot of phone calls. I’ve already fielded about 10 this morning,” said Miller.

For information on testing sites near you, go to Michigan.gov.

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