Shortage of COVID-19 At-Home Testing in San Diego on Christmas Eve

@allatsy via Twenty/20

With just one day to go until Christmas Eve, demand for at-home COVID-19 tests has caused a shortage.

Telemundo 20 toured several pharmacies in the South Bay to look for testing options and how much money San Diegans were willing to spend.

The CVS shelves in San Diego where the tests once stood looked empty.

"We have already gone to four locations, unfortunately, we have not been able to find one," Margarita said.

Telemundo 20 visited four more stores in the South Bay: Target, Walgreens, CVS and Walmart, but in all of them, found the same thing.

"You ask for tests at the register, you do not look for them in the store, you just go to the register and they give it to you," says Miguel Lona, a Doordash delivery driver.

At a Walgreens located in National City, a sign lets consumers know that home tests are sold at the cash register and only allows four tests per person.

How much do home tests cost?

The labels ranged from $23 to $134, depending on how soon you need the results. Out of the most popular home tests is the "Abbott BinaXnow" which has a cost of $24 and just by inserting the swab into the nose, the results will be ready in 15 minutes.

However, this test seems to be sold out in pharmacies.

Options if you can't find a home test

Margarita who toured several places without being able to find home exams for her whole family after her son tested positive, said she went to the airport to get tested.

"It's like $150, it's something ridiculous," she said. "My children will not be able to spend Christmas with us, they have my grandson, but obviously the family cannot risk us giving them COVID-19. Although most of us are vaccinated, we can't risk anyone's life."

Meanwhile, another option is to visit a county testing center, there are more than 20 locations and there the exams are free, but you will have to be willing to stand in long lines and probably wait between 24 to 48 hours to get the results, something that Graciela Hernández will do with her 8-year-old daughter to be able to return to online classes.  

"With my little girl I'm going to go and do the test where the district sends me or if I already buy one," says Hernández.

The Biden administration recently announced plans to distribute 500 million home tests for free, but this distribution won't begin until January 2022.

Other options are to ask your medical provider for a COVID test, these could be covered by your health insurance.

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