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The omicron variant: Are there enough at-home tests and vaccines?

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 6:49 PM CST
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala, (WBRC) - Some quick facts about the rising cases of the omicron variant of COVID - the positivity rate in Alabama has skyrocketed two and a half times higher compared to two weeks ago.

With the rise, there are reports of long lines to get tested in north Alabama, but Dr. Wes Stubblefield has a cure for that - just keep looking.

In Tuscaloosa, none of the pharmacies we checked in with reported any long lines. Most told us they require appointments.

“The wait times may be extended so when people go the testing site, they should prepare to be sitting there for some time, so you may try different testing sites,” said Dr. Wes Stubblefield, District Medical Officer for the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Different places such as your county health department, an urgent care, or your very own primary physician.

The same pharmacies we visited in Tuscaloosa reported no shortage of the at-home tests, but there could be limitations in other areas of the state.

“If you’re seeking a home test, you really should have a direct viral test done at the testing site. Home tests work best for people who are not symptomatic. The positive results on those tests are a very good test. A negative test can be a false negative. But we’re recommending people who show symptoms go and have a real test done,” said Dr. Stubblefield.

Dr. Stubblefield adds he is not aware of any shortage with the vaccines and that includes the booster shot. If there is a shortage, it will likely be temporary.

Shortage or not, the new variant is here in a big way. We’re at 2,000 cases per day here in Alabama, the first time that has happened in months.

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