COVID-19 self-test shortages causes nationwide struggle


The CVS Pharmacy on 2825 Cochran St. in Simi Valley, California updates customers on their new COVID-19 test policies. Photo credit: David Chavez

By Tanner Norris

The recent outbreak of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus has affected the student population in a variety of ways, ranging from both campus life and at home life.

As opposed to the initial outbreak of the virus, the community now has access to COVID-19 self-testing kits. These kits aid in reducing an individual’s interaction with the public if they are under the impression of having contracted the virus.

Limitations are set on the number of tests that customers can purchase per visit, which aids in preventing mass unavailability. Customers may find tests carried in their local pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens.

Even with these limitations set in place, countless residents have had to walk out of pharmacies empty-handed due to the short supply. Franco Cervantes, a CVS Pharmacy customer, relays the experience he had while attempting to find a self-test in Ventura County.

“This is the third store I’ve been to today, and finally got lucky,” said Cervantes, who was fortunate enough to find some in stock at CVS Pharmacy in Thousand Oaks after multiple failed attempts at other locations.

After finding said test, individuals may register it with the app NAVICA to have results transferred to a cell phone providing ease of access for said result. Robert B. Ford, President and Chief Executive Officer of the BinaxNow manufacturer Abbott, commented further on the situation.

“We intentionally designed the BinaxNOW test and NAVICA app so we could offer a comprehensive testing solution to help Americans feel more confident about their health and lives,” stated Ford.

A BinaxNOW COVID-19 self test sits in an empty classroom in Moorpark College.
A BinaxNOW COVID-19 self test sits in an empty classroom in Moorpark College. Photo credit: David Chavez

Some urgent cares may charge upwards of a hundred dollars per rapid test if it is not covered by the patient’s insurance. A self-testing kit not only provides a method of testing with limited contact but for those with no insurance, it is a more viable financial option coming in at $23.99.

Access to free self-tests has also been supplied by the government at a volume of four free testing kits per household. If the need for a test is not immediately apparent, this option ensures that self-tests will be handy when the need arises.

The PCR test has proved to be the most reliable test, as at-home tests can produce unreliable results typically due to user error. Insight was offered by Moorpark College Student Health Coordinator, Allison Barton, discussing recent issues that have appeared regarding the outbreak.

”The PCR test, though, is still the gold standard,” stated Barton. “And they can offer results in under 24 hours”.

Moorpark College offers free testing through on-campus sites which are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., free of charge and post the results as soon as 24 hours.

“The MC Student Health Center works with our sister campuses and VCPH to determine when those with Covid symptoms or exposed to Covid may return to campus,” implied Barton. “Based on symptoms, test results, vaccine status and nature of the exposure.”

Additional information pertaining to Moorpark College campus COVID-19 testing can be found here. In order to obtain the four free self-test kits through the government, follow the instructions on their website.