Local clinics face uncertainty as shortage of COVID-19 tests hits the Golden Triangle

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – The shortage of COVID-19 tests has hit the Golden Triangle.

The CVS Pharmacy in Starkville told WCBI that they just sold out of the at-home tests Monday, while the Walgreens in Columbus went out of stock Sunday.

“Our pharmacies are running out of those rapid at-home tests quicker,” says Amy Bogue, President of Allegro Family Clinics in Columbus.

Bogue attributes the testing shortage to the virus spreading through large holiday gatherings, as well as the nature and side effects of the Omicron variant itself.

“A lot of people think they have the stomach flu or stomach bug and we’re starting to see them, a couple of days later say, ‘Maybe that’s COVID’ and they’re coming in and we got some positive (tests),” she says.

After an initial surge Thursday, the clinic says they’ve averaged five to 10 daily positive COVID tests over the last 3 days.

“We probably diagnosed (as many people) today as we diagnosed last week,” Bogue says.

Allegro reports that the number from the previous week added up to about 17 positive cases.

Bogue expects another surge during the final week of December.

She says they currently have over 400 on-site rapid and send-out tests stocked across their four clinics.

“If someone’s trying to get a test, they really want to get it from a clinic that can back it up,” says Allegro pharmacist Hank Norwood. “That’s going to be a reputable test.”

But with rising Omicron case numbers and the possibility for redistribution, Bogue says that could change fast.

“We have access to the test right now. We have not been told that we have a hold on it,” she says. “But if the government comes in and says that they need the testing, then they have first preference.”

Last time they faced a testing shortage, Bogue says they found a way to overcome the lack of send-off tests. So she expects the rapid tests to be the next ones in high demand.

“Today I’m confident,” she says. “Ask me in a couple of weeks. Let’s see where our numbers are.”

To schedule a COVID-19 test at an Allegro Family Clinic, call 662-570-4770.

“Don’t delay,” Norwood says. “If you want the test, go ahead and call and let us get that hooked up for you.”

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