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Demand for COVID-19 rapid testing in Kansas City metro soars ahead of New Year's Eve

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Posted at 9:29 PM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 23:44:33-05

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — With New Year’s Eve on Friday, finding a rapid COVID test hasn't been the easiest. Many have run into bare shelves at local pharmacies or have been unable to book an appointment at a clinic.

On Thursday, nonprofit Vibrant Health held a free drive-thru clinic for rapid COVID tests in Kansas City, Kansas.

KSHB 41 News spoke with Joshua who was getting tested after he learned his coworker contracted the virus.

"I just wanted to get checked out to be safe for friends and family,” Joshua said.

It's been a busy and exhausting week for Vibrant Health, and Thursday was not any different at the drive-thru clinic.

“It's been down the block all day, so we have definitely seen and felt the increase in demand for testing,” said Andrea Perdomo-Morales with Vibrant Health.

Perdomo-Morales said they administered about 200 rapid tests for all of last week. On Wednesday, that number was 297.

“I think people are concerned after the holiday gatherings, and as they are learning of people close to them that have had a positive result, then they're coming out and wanting to get tested,” Perdomo-Morales said.

The demand goes beyond the clinics.

KSHB 41 checked a couple of pharmacies in Kansas City, Missouri, for at-home rapid tests. All that was found were bare shelves.

It's a situation others find themselves in, too.

"This is my fifth or sixth CVS or Walgreens that I’ve been to today looking for just an at-home test,” Karie Slickman said.

Another sign of demand was the brief shortage of free at-home testing kits through a Missouri program.

The state’s health department issued a statement on Thursday:

“In May, the State began offering free at-home testing kits for Missourians. From this program’s inception through Dec. 29, just 6,500 kits had been ordered. This morning, the program reached 15,000 orders just during the month of December. After a temporary pause in availability, kits are available again through this online ordering system. These kits will be offered as long as federal funding allows.”