Ahead of Thanksgiving, doctors say at-home COVID-19 tests aren’t always reliable – CBS Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As we enter the holiday season and families and friends gather, there is still concern about COVID-19.
Many people plan to get tested for the virus before getting together. Many pharmacies that KDKA called on Wednesday said the tests at home were not or hardly available.
The tests have become hot commodities in places like Wilson’s Pharmacy in Bloomfield.
“We’ll bring in a lot of them and we’ll sell them. Then we’re going to order them again and we can’t get them,” said pharmacy owner Jeff Wilson. “There is always someone who has a problem and wants to be tested or needs to be tested for their job.”
There was only one left when KDKA spoke to Wilson on Wednesday. Most pharmacies said they expected a delivery Friday or early next week.
Wilson had to use another provider to get what he could.
“I recently found one late last week that offered these, so I decided to buy some. Our wholesaler didn’t have it at the time,’ says Wilson.
What’s in stock are PCR tests. The results take about a day or two, but they are more accurate than home tests. Doctors said home tests aren’t always reliable.
“It’s not really good to rule it out. Taking one of those tests when you don’t have many symptoms doesn’t really mean you’re safe,” said Allegheny Health Network, doctor of internal medicine, Dr. Brian Lamb.
His best advice is to get the vaccine, limit interactions, and stay home if you feel sick.
“But we can minimize it. Don’t stay long at a party. If you’re going to be at a party, maybe you could just pop in and say hello and limit your exposure to other people if you’re not vaccinated,” said Dr. Lamb.
Meanwhile, Wilson hopes people get the vaccine to end the need for testing.
“I can’t believe the people who still don’t have it. It’s just so important that we get everyone vaccinated,” Wilson said.
Bigger chains like Walgreens and CVS said they are doing their best to keep the shelves stocked with tests.
dr. Lamb said if you’re fully vaccinated, it’s better to get a booster shot sooner than later. He said anyone who plans to be with family and friends should get the booster.