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Community relieved to get free COVID-19 tests

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 10:38 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - If you talk to anyone who has tried finding an at home COVID-19 test lately, they’ll tell you, the tests are hard to find. The White House is trying to change that by offering FREE tests online. People around the country started signing up Tuesday.

The federal website opened earlier today. The official launch is Wednesday, but it’s working in a limited capacity today.

The Biden Administration said the website went live early to make sure there aren’t technical problems. Supplies will be limited to four tests per household. The tests will ship within 7 to 12 days after you order them.

People in Savannah said they’re getting their test kits immediately.

Pharmacies like Georgetown Drug Company hasn’t been able to keep the tests in stock. The owner said this is the relief many of them need right now.

“It has been almost overwhelming how many tests we’ve been doing each week. Anywhere from 30-50 tests a day and that’s rapid, 10 minute COVID tests,” said Neal Hollis, Pharmacist and Owner of Georgetown Drug Company.

Pharmacist and owner of Georgetown Drug Company Neal Hollis said they’ve been overwhelmed with rapid COVID tests and they can’t keep the take-home tests in stock when they get them. They got a shipment of about 72 last week and they were gone in two days.

“We haven’t really had many of them, but when we get a small shipment, they’re gone within a day,” said Hollis.

Hollis said the pharmacies needed the relief.

“I think it’s great for the families that can’t come out here or even can’t find the COVID tests. Just good to have something they can rely on,” he said.

That’s why Lauren Boyle, a teacher at West Chatham Middle School ordered her tests this morning. She said she tests regularly so she goes through a lot of them.

“I thought it was awesome. It’s really nice because it’s been really hard to find them recently, especially with everybody getting it and I work at the schools so even if I have a sniffle, I’m always like oh my gosh, do I have Omicron?” said Lauren Boyle, teacher at West Chatham Middle School.

Janey Robideau said she’s excited because she didn’t even know they were available for free.

“I think it’s wonderful. I don’t know why they didn’t do this months ago before the new variant came it might’ve stopped things from spreading,” said Janey Robideau, who lives in the area.

Hollis said for his pharmacy, being there for the community in times like this is big for them, but they hope extra tests will help them get the pharmacy back to normal.

“It will relieve the burden. I don’t even want to call it a burden because we help the community as well by giving tests, but I do think it will give us some sigh of relief that it will take some of the extra workload off of us,” he said.

These orders will start shipping in late January. The US Postal Service will only send one set of 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests to valid addresses. It can go to a house, apartment or P.O. BOX, but if for instance, you’re a college student trying to ship to a dorm...it won’t work.

If you need more tests, people with private health insurance will be reimbursed for the full cost of tests, up to eight tests per month.

There are free COVID testing sites in our area that still have availability.

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