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Michigan sees shortage of rapid COVID tests

Demand for COVID tests increases with statewide cases
Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 6:27 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - It’s getting harder to find a rapid COVID-19 test in mid-Michigan.

There is a national shortage of testing kits as more employers start testing workers. And this comes as COVID cases are surging across the state.

As of Nov. 17, 2021, there has been 1,224,273 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Michigan.

Appointments for COVID tests at Lansing Urgent Care locations are hard to come by, and even those are a few days out.

People who are able to get appointments are finding rapids tests aren’t as rapid.

“It can take a couple of hours back to you,” said Dr. Amber Sprague-Rice, OUCH Urgent Care owner.

Sprague-Rice said more and more people are getting a COVID test as cases surge.

“We could slowly see that trend ramping back up,” said Sprague-Rice. “This was our busiest season again with the holidays, the fall time, it’s just an easy time for these viruses to spread.”

And that means demand is back up, especially with businesses and schools relying on rapid tests.

Williamston Community Schools tests students to help keep them in class. Superintendent Adam Spina said he’s not sure how long the kits he does have will last.

“It’s so unpredictable that it’s really hard to establish a predictable amount of supply and demand in terms of what we are going to need,” said Spina.

The district gets its rapid tests from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. MDHHS told News 10 it isn’t sending kits to schools right now because of the supply issues.

And Spina said this is coming at a bad time.

“We’re probably going to see more positive cases,” said Spina. “Which would then mean more students to be close contacts, thus more testing to keep kids in school.”

The testing shortages don’t surprise Dr. Sprague-Rice.

“It’s the same thing we saw last fall. The same thing happened,” Sprague-Rice said. “There are other places that had tests that were available and then as that demand increases they weren’t able to meet the demand.”

The CDC is encouraging people to get the lab test, or the PCR test, to ease the strain on the rapid test demand. Those results are usually available in a couple of days.

Back in September, President Joe Biden invoked the defense production act for rapid tests. The idea is to get the tests in major stores across the country, making it easier for people to get one.

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