At-home COVID-19 tests are flying off the shelves across Tulsa

TULSA, Okla. — COVID-19 at-home test kits are flying off store shelves across the Tulsa metro, and many pharmacies are already sold out and not sure when their stock will be replenished.

Because Influenza and the COVID-19 Omicron variant are spreading at the same time, many people are finding themselves feeling sick, but they are trying to determine which illness they have. Many have turned to at-home test kits, and supply has quickly dwindled in the Tulsa metro.

FOX23 visited more than a dozen Walgreens and CVS pharmacies on different sides of Tulsa, and found most stores had signs telling people there were no more at-home test kits for sale. Cashiers at other stores that had kits said the few they had likely would not remain on store shelves for long.

The lack of at-home test kits does not mean pharmacies cannot still test on site for COVID-19. Those tests are different and are sent off to labs for analysis, but with at-home kits flying off the shelves, more people are turning to medical facilities like hospitals and official PCR testing sites that have been around since the beginning of the pandemic.

Lines at these medical facilities are getting longer as more people get sick, and so many people are showing up for COVID testing at St. Francis hospital in south Tulsa that the hospital says wait times have skyrocketed in their emergency room. At a drive up testing facility at East 51st and South Peoria, drivers have said they’ve waited in their cars well over half an hour for a PCR test.

When asked when they thought their stock would be replenished, cashiers at Walgreens and CVS locations that were sold out of tests said they to have trucks coming in regularly, but they can’t guarantee there will be enough at-home test kits to go around once supply is restocked. Some suggested customers call ahead before venturing out to a store that doesn’t have what they need.

Oklahoma Interim Health Commissioner Keith Reed said despite at-home test kits remaining in high demand, the state has stockpiled plenty of test kits that can be rapid, at-provider, and comprehensive test kits.

“The at-home kit is really the one that it just flying off the shelf right now,” Reed said. “We have the ability to test, you just may not be able to do it at home.”