COVID-19 tests are hard to come by as cases surge

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Getting your hands on a COVID-19 test kit is becoming increasingly difficult. We went to six CVS and Walgreens stores across Jacksonville on Wednesday.

Every single one we went to was out of rapid, PCR, and even take-home COVID-19 tests. Though, there were a few take-home ones that cost more than $100.

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Even Avecina Medical is all booked up for the next few days at all three of their locations.

Dr. Saman Soleymani, president and CEO of Avecina Medical, said, “Right now, we’re seeing higher numbers than peak of last year.”

In the last three weeks, Avecina Medical has been trying to keep up with the heightened demand for COVID-19 testing.

“At the time, the office was opening at 8 a.m. There would be 50 people standing outside, which automatically would kind of create chaos. We would be three, four hours behind before even opening our doors.”

Now they’re back to requiring appointments for any COVID-19 testing at their locations.

This is as cases continue to rise in northeast Florida, and state and federally run testing sites like Regency are no longer operating.

“As far as I know, we are one of the only facilities in town that’s able to do the rapid antigen test by Sofia, and have results the same day.”

CVS and Walgreens have dozens of locations throughout the Jacksonville area, but testing at those locations is hard to come by.

Even the take-home antigen COVID-19 test kits are out of stock.

On the Walgreens website, it shows the closest ones are in Virginia.

We did find a few kits, but the cost is roughly $130.

Soleymani said those tests aren’t as accurate as one done at a doctor’s office or clinic.

Appointments for rapid or even PCR tests are booked for the next couple of days too, but there is still some availability at certain stores.

Soleymani said, “We are, as of now, not only is today fully booked, all of tomorrow is booked, and I believe Friday we are already halfway completely booked for the day at all three offices.”

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If you are insured, getting a test shouldn’t cost you anything. Your insurance companies are required to pay for it all, even if you have a copay.

Unfortunately, if you are uninsured, it could cost you anywhere from $120 to $140 out of pocket, depending on where you go.