At-home covid tests and omicron: What you need to know – The Washington Post

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As millions of Americans scramble to navigate the holidays amid rising coronavirus cases and the rapid spread of the omicron variant, convenient testing options that can quickly detect an infection are becoming harder to find.
“Getting your hands on a test prior to Christmas at this point is probably going to be very difficult because of the demand,” said Matthew J. Binnicker, the director of clinical virology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., speaking about rapid home test kits.
Public health officials are urging Americans to get tested before traveling or gathering with friends and family members, citing rapid tests as an important tool for curbing a variant that is expected to cause record-high covid-19 hospitalizations in the United States. But the high demand for tests has left major retailers such as Walmart, Walgreens and CVS struggling to keep kits stocked in stores, and online orders have also been affected.
Health officials say omicron variant likely to cause record-high coronavirus cases, hospitalizations in U.S.
While there may still be time before Christmas for people to get results from lab-based PCR tests, depending on where they are in the country, Binnicker said the outlook for being tested before New Year’s celebrations may be better. “There’s still more time for pharmacies and stores to be able to get access to those kits,” he said.
Here’s what else you need to know about home tests — how they work, where to get them and when to take them. The information and recommendations in this FAQ are drawn from the Food and Drug Administration, previously published Washington Post reports and new interviews with experts.
Please keep in mind that as the pandemic evolves, information about testing options is likely to change.


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