Looking for a home COVID test? It may seem daunting, but it is possible to find test kits in stores and online with some tools, determination, and sometimes luck in the face of persistent shortages.
Some use the same tactics to find the tests used to determine the hard to find PS5 and Xbox Series X video game consoles: Follow Twitter and social media accounts popping when the tests are back in stock.
There are also apps and websites that warn consumers when new tests come in.
And there’s Eli Coustan, a 14-year-old from the Chicago suburb of Evanston, who has made it his mission to help people find home tests.
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The ninth grader said he started his website Findacovidtest.org in late December after seeing how hard it was to find the home tests.
“I had created a site to find vaccines earlier in the pandemic and knew I could use a lot of similar technology to make something to find home tests that you can order online and have them shipped,” Eli told USA TODAY, adding that he started ILVaccine.org in February 2021 after seeing how hard it was for his grandparents to get appointments.
Tips for finding COVID tests at home
Your mileage may vary, but here are tips to help you find COVID tests and other items that fall short at home.
Alerts in stock
For online shopping, alerts or notifications from shopping apps or third-party sites or apps are one of the best ways to find available inventory when it is replenished.
Target has stock alerts that you can sign up for with its app. Apps including hot stock, can also send you notifications. The app is free, but there is an option to pay $5.49 to receive notifications for up to 10 products.
Eli says his site is automatically updated every five to 10 minutes, and site visitors can sign up for text notifications.
The site maintains online inventory of COVID tests at Amazon, CVS, Costco, Walgreens, Walmart, Target, Sam’s Club, and more, and you can select the brand of test you’re interested in.
♦ Shopping tip: Once you receive an alert, act quickly as the stock moves quickly and takes several tries.
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Check in-store test inventory with apps and Google Shopping
Before going to a brick-and-mortar Target, Walmart, or other store, you can get a better idea of store inventory by checking retail websites or apps. But as with online ordering, stock can change quickly.
With Google Shopping, shoppers can also check store inventory at home. Find local stores that sell the products you’re looking for from Google Shopping and select the “in stock” filter to see only the nearby stores that have it on their shelves.
Follow restock Twitter accounts for COVID test updates
According to a Sin story Thursday, several PS5 restock accounts on Twitter began posting warnings about the availability of the COVID-19 test.
Here are three Twitter accounts to watch for test updates:
How to get free home COVID tests with insurance
Of insurance companies now cover the over-the-counter tests from Saturday there is a new motivation to look for tests. Many will be free after insurance reimbursement.
Private health plans are needed to cover the over-the-counter tests up to $12 per test. Consumers can get the test kits for free from participating pharmacies that have their plan prepared or submit receipts for reimbursement by the insurance company.
Learn more about how to get insurance reimbursement here.
Order free tests from Wednesday at COVIDtests.gov
Americans can order free COVID-19 tests from Biden administration starting Wednesday new website. No fee is required and shipping is free.
The website to order is COVIDtests.gov and the site says, “Every home in the US will soon be able to order 4 free home COVID-19 tests.”
The tests, part of the government’s purchase of 500 million tests last month to tackle a record surge in infections, will be sent home in seven to 12 days, according to an official who informed reporters.
Contributors: Courtney Subramanian, USA TODAY; Associated Press
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