As omicron surges through North Texas, residents are scouring pharmacies and grocery stories to find rapid at-home COVID tests, but coming up empty.
While in-person testing gives much more definitive results, you may not have a site near you, or you might struggle to find one without long lines and wait times. Or maybe you have strong symptoms and can’t go anywhere.
Here’s a list of options for at-home testing in the Fort Worth area, both online and in stores. And answers to common questions about at-home tests.
As of Thursday morning, a pharmacist with Daniel Drug, located at 3409 W. 7th St. in Fort Worth, said they had about 100 at-home test kits in stock — however, the number changes each day so it’s best to call ahead for availability.
The test kits Daniel Drug sells are the Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Home Test, which provides results in about 15 minutes. It comes with one test per box and costs about $12 at the Daniel Drug location.
Although there is limited supply in the warehouse they use, staff at Daniel Drug said they have an additional order of at-home test kits backordered and are certain they will get more.
Park Place Pharmacy
Pharmacist Craig Nicholson said the last time he got a shipment in for at-home COVID tests was Dec. 30 and they were sold out of all 20 kits they had received within 24 hours. Since then, Park Place Pharmacy, located at 1601 Park Place Ave. in Fort Worth, has been waiting for a restock of the Flowflex kits from their wholesalers.
Nicholson said even the wholesalers they use are out of the test kits and have them backordered.
When they have tests in stock, Nicholson said, they try to limit the number per customer to four, depending on the family size. He said on average, one person needs two tests and the amount they buy is dependent on their family size.
Some customers have been skeptical about the manufacturing of Flowflex, which is produced by U.S.-based company Acon Laboratories but manufactured in the U.S., China and Mexico. The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the Flowflex test kits in October in order to increase testing access.
Park Place Pharmacy usually sells the Flowflex test kits for around $25.
Telehealth company Ro currently has at-home COVID tests in stock that can get to you in three to five business days. The On/Go COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test uses a nasal swab and gives you results in 10 minutes. The only catch: this test may be pricier than others, with two tests sold for $30. You can purchase your test kit online at covid.ro.co.
It can be used to test any family member 2 years or older. To use the test, download the On/Go app on your Apple or Android device. It will guide you through the steps and let you share your results with your physician. Then, take the second test in the box one to three days later. Make sure to use your kit before the end of the month, when it will expire.
As of Thursday, Amazon has three tests in stock, but shipping will take longer than usual. Abbott BinaxNOW tests are $20.89 and can be delivered Jan. 12 if you order on Thursday. Or get an iHealth test for $17.98 within two to three weeks. On/Go’s kit sells for $24.88 and could ship between Jan. 14 to 24.
If you’re not in a rush and want to keep some tests handy for later use, you can buy a Picture Genetics test starting on Jan. 12 on picturegenetics.com. You’ll get your kit in two days. When you’re ready to take the test, you’ll activate the kit online, collect a nasal swab sample and ship it back in a pre-labeled overnight envelope. Your results will be available within two days. Learn more about the process through their instructional video.
Fort Worth Walgreens locations currently do not have any at-home COVID tests in stock. Many get them randomly, and you can call ahead at those locations to check their availability. Others are expecting them to be back on specific days this week. Here’s when they’ll be back at each location, and what you should do to get them.
921 Henderson St.: Expected Friday or Saturday. Call (817) 885-8563 later in the day to confirm if they have them. They usually sell out in about a day, so contact them quickly.
6346 Camp Bowie Blvd.: Expected Thursday or Friday. Call (817) 377-9095 first thing in the morning, from 7 to 9 a.m., to confirm their availability. Hurry, they usually sell out in just one hour.
3100 Miller Ave.: Soonest expected is Tuesday. Call (817) 536-4593 ahead of your visit to confirm that they have them.
4100 E. Lancaster Ave.: Expected Friday. Call (817) 413-7442 on Friday to confirm.
6551 Forest Hill Drive: Expected Tuesday. Call (817) 478-2952 ahead of time.
Keep in mind that you can only purchase four tests at a time at any Walgreens location. To check if a specific test is in stock, visit Walgreens.com frequently throughout the day for updates on the latest available store inventory information. Tests range from $10 to $24.
“Due to the incredible demand for at-home rapid testing, we put in effect a four-item purchase limit on at-home COVID-19 testing products in our stores and digital properties in an effort to help improve inventory while we continue to work diligently with our supplier partners to best meet customer demands,” Walgreens spokesperson Zoe Krey told the Star-Telegram. “Some stores may experience a temporary shortage in rapid OTC testing solutions.”
Fort Worth Walmart stores are sold out of COVID tests kits. They get shipments daily, so store associates said they were expecting tests in less than a week. Call your local Walmart store in a few days first thing in the morning to check if they’ve gotten tests. They usually sell out quickly, so don’t wait.
If you prefer not to buy them in store, go to walmart.com. There’s a purchase limit of eight BinaxNow test kits per online order. There aren’t purchase limits nationally for in-store purchases, but individual stores may set their own limits based on local inventory. Tests range from $20 to $30.
Keep in mind that Walmart upped the cost of Abbott BinaxNOW tests by $6 after the holidays. They went from $14 to $19.88. That’s because Walmart, Kroger and Amazon had a three-month deal with the White House to offer tests at a reduced price that expired in mid-December.
“We have seen significant demand for at-home COVID-19 testing kits and are working closely with our suppliers to meet this demand and get the needed product to our customers,” Walmart spokesperson Tricia Moriarty told the Star-Telegram. “We have held strong inventory levels nationally in store; however, inventory may be more limited online.”
Here’s when Fort Worth Krogers expect to get more tests in:
9114 Camp Bowie West Blvd.: Expected Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Call (817) 244-2576 in the afternoon to check availability before visiting the store.
3510 Altamesa Blvd.: Expected Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Call (817) 294-5911 in the afternoon to check availability before visiting the store.
3120 S. University Drive: Will be out of stock until March.
Check kroger.com to find out if your store carries test kits.
Kroger, along with Walmart and Amazon, hiked the price of Abbott BinaxNOW tests to $23.99 after their three-month deal with the White House to offer tests at a reduced price expired in December. Kroger’s corporate headquarters could not be reached for comment.
While Fort Worth Albertsons have been out of stock for a while, a spokesperson said they have more tests on their way and are expecting them later this week or early next week. Call your local Albertsons pharmacy to find out if there are tests in stock.
“We are currently out of stock on at-home COVID tests and are working hard to re-stock as soon as possible,” Albertsons spokesperson Christy Lara said. “We are expecting locations to have Flowflex brand tests in stock either later this week or early next week. We have both Flowflex (one test per kit) and QuickVue tests (two tests per kit) on order with suppliers.”
Target was also out of stock of all COVID tests listed on its website, both online and in stores within 26 miles of Fort Worth, as of Thursday afternoon.
As of Thursday afternoon, CVS Pharmacy was out of stock on all at-home tests online and did not show availability at local stores.
According to a CVS statement, CVS Pharmacy still offers rapid testing by appointment with results available within hours along with self-swab drive-thru testing conducted through the pharmacy drive-thru windows. The drive-thru testing is conducted by a third party and results are available within 1-3 days, according to the statement.
“We’re continuing to work around the clock to provide our stores with inventory of the five over-the-counter at-home COVID-19 tests we offer,” the statement said. “Due to a recent surge in demand, and to retain community-based access to tests in our stores, there may be temporary out-of-stocks for these products on CVS.com.”
When can you get free at-home testing?
Starting later this month, the government will distribute 500 million free test kits to Americans.
The Departments of Defense and of Health and Human Services are working on “an accelerated contracting timeline” to get free tests to the public as soon as possible, according to a Dec. 29 White House briefing.
“The first deliveries for manufacturers will start in January. We’ll set up a free and easy system, including a new website to get these tests out to Americans,” White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said. “We’re actively working to finalize that distribution mechanism, which includes a website where people will be able to order tests for free. And we’ll share more details in the weeks ahead — days and weeks ahead.”
How to report your positive test results
First, share your test results with your doctor. They’ll let you know if you should get another test to confirm your results. They might need to intervene with antiviral or monoclonal antibody treatment if you have severe symptoms or are immunocompromised. According to the CDC’s latest guidance, you should isolate yourself for five days after testing positive and wear a mask for the next five days.
Then, share your test results with Tarrant County Public Health to help the agency with pandemic response planning, health experts recommend. Call the information line at 817-248-6299.