(WXYZ) — With Christmas celebrations behind us and New Year’s parties right around the corner, many people are searching high and low for COVID-19 tests.
As cases continue to surge here in Metro Detroit, the ongoing shortage of tests is posing a real problem as we head into 2022, but one local Facebook group is helping the city to tackle the problem.
“I went to CVS, Walgreens, several urgent cares, none of them had any sort of availability,” Bingham Farms resident Jennifer Ledbetter said.
In a way, it’s like deja vu from the start of the pandemic. Long lines to get tested at health clinics or pharmacies and now at-home tests are flying off the shelves and.
People like Jennifer Ledbetter are turning to fellow community members for help. She reached out to the Michigan Vaccine Hunters Facebook page, which helped her find a place to get a vaccine and booster.
Due to the high demand and low supply of tests right now, the team of local vaccine hunters has also become COVID-19 test finders.
“A lot of the posts right now are about finding testing facilities, understanding quarantine, and isolation guidelines, and potentially getting help for sick relatives,” creator of the Detroit Area Vaccine Hunter Facebook group Katie Monaghan said.
Monaghan now spends more time helping people like Jennifer track down PCR testing sites or reliable at-home tests.
Doctors say at-home tests aren’t quite as accurate as a PCR test but false positives are extremely rare.
“For the at-home test, it’s most accurate if you have symptoms. So if you have symptoms and it shows that you are positive, I would take that as a serious, you are positive,” Beaumont Family Physician Dr. Asha Shajahan said.
Because over-the-counter at-home tests are all different and some collect different samples, it’s important to read directions carefully.
If you get a negative result but still aren’t sure, the CDC recommends waiting at least 24 hours before you test again.
Monaghan is hoping more PCR appointments start to open up and that when it comes to at-home tests people only buy what they need. In the meantime, she’ll keep searching tests out.
“You just need to be a little bit diligent and check a couple different places,” Monaghan said.
And if you're looking for free rapid tests today, the Detroit Association of Black Organization will open up a free testing clinic at the Sheffield Center in Detroit from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.