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At-home COVID test supply to increase in Virginia due to more federal funding

The Biden Administration hopes to invest a total of $3 billion toward rapid testing before the year's end, and quadruple the country's supply.

NORFOLK, Va. — On Monday, the federal government announced new plans to make COVID testing easier from the comfort of your home.

The National Institutes of Health announced it will invest $70 million toward making home COVID tests more available across the country. 

They plan to invest in manufacturing and bring more at-home testing products to the market, and then available through pharmacies and retailers. 

The NIH is using this funding from the American Rescue Plan in coordination with the Food and Drug Administration, according to the Department of Health.

The goal is to "accelerate the availability of more high-quality, accurate and reliable over-the-counter tests to the public as quickly as possible."

As of now, the supply for at-home tests are in need of a boost in Virginia, which could change with the new investment.

“Always been a supply issue at the federal level that we’re suffering from. But the feds have said they’re investing in the manufacturing end of it and reported to states these hold-ups to be relieved by the end of October. We should see more test products on the shelves, more retail locations," Dr. Laurie Forlano said, with the Office of Epidemiology with the Virginia Department of Health. 

At-home tests can be in short supply, depending on where you look. 

A CVS Pharmacy spokesperson told 13News Now there are several products available both online and in stores:

CVS Pharmacy stores across the country offer multiple over-the-counter COVID-19 test kits, allowing patients to self-test at home.  In order to serve our customers’ OTC testing needs, and due to high demand, we’ve introduced product limits of (6) on cvs.com and (4) at CVS Pharmacy for the Abbott BinaxNOW, Ellume and Quidel tests. We’re continuing to work with our suppliers to meet customer demand.

Meanwhile, it's a different story for Rite Aid. A spokesperson sent the following statement to 13News Now:

As Americans return to school, work and events, we are actively supporting the increase in demand for testing with free, convenient drive-thru testing at all Rite Aid locations. Like most retail chains, our at-home testing kits are currently out of stock, but we expect supply to begin catching up with demand in the coming weeks.  As soon as shipments resume, at-home testing kits will also be made available at riteaid.com. We will also continue to explore new opportunities with various vendors to be prepared for future demand as needed.  

The HHS release says the Biden Administration hopes to invest $3 billion toward rapid testing before the year's end, and quadruple the country's supply. 

The Virginia Department of Health does not require at-home tests results be reported to the Department, according to Dr. Forlano.

“That’s a good question, but a complicated answer," she said when asked how many of the state's current negative COVID cases were detected by at-home rapid tests. 

“Not all tests that are conducted at home, will be reported to VDH. Most aren’t actually. Because you as a private citizen are not required to report tests to the health department.”