San Francisco

High Demand for At-Home COVID Tests Continues in Bay Area

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A new federal rule requiring insurance companies to cover the cost of at-home rapid COVID-19 tests went in effect over the weekend.

But finding an at-home COVID test kit remains a challenge in the Bay Area as retailers continue to sell out quickly due to the high demand.

"I get them on Amazon," said Ian Christoph, a San Francisco resident. "They were very easy to get. There's a bit of a time delay -- maybe 10 days to receive them.

Retailers like CVS also have tests they can ship out as well.

But good luck walking into a store to make a purchase.

A manager for the CVS store in San Francisco's Lower Haight neighborhood said she has been sold out since Friday and is not sure when another shipment of tests will arrive.

NBC Bay Area on Monday visited three different San Francisco drug stores, including the one in Lower Haight. A Walgreens at Castro and 18th Street was sold out, but a Walgreens at Castro and 26th Street was fully stocked.

"We have some on order that we ordered online, but are a week away," said David Winner, a San Francisco resident relieved to find COVID-19 tests in stock at Walgreens.

Spotting the at-home test for sale is a big deal for Joel Markovitz.

"I know that they're hard to come by, so I just purchased the four that I needed," Markovitz said. "I know there were people there who were purchasing a lot more, like two cases."

NBC Bay Area’s Raj Mathai spoke to Sergio Quintana who was on the hunt Monday for an at-home COVID-19 testing kit.

Markoviz is also going to be sending the receipts for the tests he bought to his insurance company to get reimbursed up to $12 per test.

For anyone who may not have insurance and would like the government to send over at-home tests, the website will allow orders to be placed starting Wednesday.

The government will allow residents to order up to four tests for free to be delivered within a week or two.

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