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COVID-19 test supply shortages could affect availability in Hampton Roads

Chesapeake Health Department leaders said they just received thousands of COVID-19 tests. They believe they have enough to last for several months.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — With the record-shattering number of new cases in Virginia, the search for COVID-19 tests could become even harder.

On Tuesday, the Chesapeake Health Department held a COVID-19 testing clinic. Public Health Emergency Manager Jerry Tucker said more than 500 people showed up, and the percent positivity rate reached 30% at that clinic.

Now, there's a shortage of COVID-19 testing supplies.

"This probably couldn’t have come as a worse time with the omicron variant," explained Tucker.

Tucker said there’s a shortage of COVID-19 testing supplies, and he didn’t know how long the shortage would last.

"To create a test, it goes through a lot of quality control procedures and it’s difficult to continue meeting those standards and also meeting the demand of the supply needs as well," he said.

Tucker said at a state level, leaders have exhausted many of their resources. 

He had to buy COVID-19 testing supplies from a private company to have enough for Tuesday's clinic.

"Typically, you know you look at $60-$70 for a box of 40 test cards in our rapid test kits, and now we are seeing that price closer to $400," explained Tucker. "To restock our normal supply, to continue with our testing events moving forward, it was over $50,000 for us to do that, which we did do."

That money comes from state-funded resources. Tucker said he believes the Chesapeake Health Department now has enough COVID-19 tests to last for most of 2022.

“We are lucky in that aspect, but we are going to continue working with the state and we are hopeful that they’ll be able to work through their logistical constraints as well and get everyone back up and running,” Tucker said.

He said the Chesapeake Health Department offers at-home COVID-19 tests, but said they were flying off the shelves. He ordered 1,000 more tests that were available on Wednesday, but by Thursday morning were all gone.

The Chesapeake Health Department is holding clinics on these dates:

  • Mondays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Chesapeake Health Department
  • Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Dominion Commons Shopping Center
  • Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Chesapeake Health Department

Rapid antigen, rapid PCR and regular lab PCR testing will be available.

For a list of locations near your home, click here.

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