At-home COVID test availability improving around East TN

Belew Drug received 1,500 tests to be divided between four locations.
Belew Drug receives 1,500 tests to be divided between four locations.
Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 11:52 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A week ago, Belew Drug in Knoxville had no COVID-19 at-home tests available and the demand was high.

“Even if it’s a large shipment they’re gone people would come buy multiple tests you know one for now and one for a couple days in case that one is negative in case they’re still having symptoms to get the most accurate results,” Dr. Samantha Boldin said at the time of the shortage.

Boldin also said tests would be gone the day after shipments came in. Then the US Government rolled out their free at-home COVID tests that get delivered straight to people’s homes, which hoped to help local pharmacies keep supplies on the shelves.

Supply is much better now at Belew Drug with a fresh shipment of 1,500 tests to be divided between their four locations, but the tests from the government program aren’t the reason for the improvement.

“There’s still a lot of demand for the at home tests because they are not shipping from what I’ve heard until this week.” Boldin said. From her perspective, people haven’t gotten their tests in the mail yet, so they’re still coming to the local pharmacies. Boldin said the improvement comes from more supply, and more options for people to go to.

“I think for us the calls are starting to slow down a little because I think other places are starting to get them as well,” said Boldin.

The government purchased 400 million N95 masks and are being deployed for free use. Belew Drug said they’re expecting those in the next week or so, while CVS said they haven’t gotten theirs yet, and Walgreens could not confirm inventory over the phone.

When those masks arrive, you’ll be able to have three per person.

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