Cases on the rise, but Rockford facing shortage of at-home COVID-19 test kits

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois reported its highest number of single day COVID-19 cases on Thursday, with over 44,000.

Many people experiencing symptoms in Rockford say they are seeking out public testing sites because they can’t find home tests in stores.

Daniel Roos, who had to get a COVID-19 test done to return to work, said he usually uses the at-home tests, but recently he’s had a hard time finding one.

“I’ve seen the prices of the rapid testing kits, that they are going up and getting scarce to find,” he said. “I usually prefer coming to places like these [Lab Elite on College Avenue] with the free testing, or a place like Walgreens, or something that has those options.”

Lab Elite manager Brandy Barker says they’ve had an increase in people who want rapid test results, especially after the Christmas holidays.

“We have a lot more people coming to us, and everyone is being very grateful for us,” she said.

Testing sites, like Lab Elite, are popping up all across the Stateline area, and are sometimes the only available testing option.

Barker says her lab offers both the rapid and PCR tests.

“With work and school and traveling, it’s really hard for some people,” she said. “So, they are really happy and glad to come here with us, so since it’s free.”

Roos says he’ll continue to test to make sure he’s not passing anything on to his friends and family, but wishes, once he can get one, the at-home tests didn’t cost so much.

The cost of the kits has risen since a subsidy from the White House expired at the end of December.

“It really should be free, with the way things are going. Those at-home test kits shouldn’t be as expensive as they are, especially with things getting backed up at testing sites, as it is,” he said.

Local pharmacies we called for this story all reported that they were out of stock of the at-home test kits, but said they could be ordered online and shipped to customers.

Click HERE for more information on additional COVID testing and vaccinations in Winnebago County.

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