Rapid COVID-19 tests in low supply, high demand as cases rise across DMV

Finding a rapid, at-home COVID-19 test has become nearly impossible in the DMV. Regionally, the sought-after test kits have sold out, leaving store shelves empty, but that hasn't dampened demand.

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The shortage is hitting both small neighborhood pharmacies and national chains alike. As appointments for testing have filled up, many people have tried to turn to rapid tests at home to test themselves.

However, that has created massive demand.

Owner of Glen Echo Pharmacy in Maryland Ronald Sinker says his supplier has also raised prices on the test kits, and he still can't get them.

"We’re a neighborhood store, and we try to help people in our community but if we can’t get them, we can’t get them. We are doing the best we can to get them and try to help people. We appreciate them calling us, but it’s been hard to get these items," Sinker says.

READ MORE: COVID-19 spike across DMV leads to surge in demand for testing

Hundreds of people turned up to wait in line at the Farragut Square testing location in D.C. on Monday. The free testing site was scheduled to last until noon but continued for more than an hour past then to fill the demand.

Many in line told FOX 5 they tried to buy a rapid test kit, but just couldn't find any.

"Multiple places Walgreens, CVS," one resident said. "They didn’t have appointments either at pharmacies."

"There wasn’t any anyplace, so I had to do walk-up testing," another resident said. "There were no appointments available. I work over there, and I pass by this tent every single day and I normally see four people in line."

If you're considering online shopping for a rapid COVID-19 test, prepare for sticker shock. Some test kits that FOX 5 found on Amazon that normally retail between $17 and $25 are being offered for $500 to $1,500.


Experts also warn consumers to be careful about online auction sites like eBay where it's harder to verify sellers are who they say they are.