SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. — Demand for at-home SARS CoV-2 tests is so high right now, some pharmacists can’t even get them.
We’ve all seen an empty spot on a shelf at some point over the last six weeks, where rapid tests should be. Right now, they’re tough to find, even for retailers like pharmacies.
The phone just keeps ringing at Hometown Pharmacy in Sun Prairie. A chunk of those callers ask whether they have any at-home tests in stock. They don’t.
Pharmacist Jason Buenger estimated they get about 60 of those calls every day.
That leaves their crew of 9 to 10 people "crazy busy."
“I'll usually typically come in an hour or so early,” Buenger said. “We'll work a couple of hours after [closing] even, several nights a week, just to try to keep up with the day-to-day stuff.”
Of course, that’s on top of all their “regular” responsibilities, when there’s no pandemic. Add to that all their expanded pandemic tasks, like administering vaccines and PCR tests, and it's easy to see the strain.
“Answering those general questions about COVID, and then also scheduling all the COVID tests daily, takes up a lot of time,” he said. “Then also scheduling all the vaccinations.”
Rapid tests aren’t always easy to find right now. Not even for the people who sell them in their retail businesses.
“We have several hundred on order, but they're not showing up,” Buenger said. “Now with the government, the federal government, ordering a huge volume of them obviously for public use, the manufacturers has shifted towards them versus the private sector. So they're more difficult to get even now.”
For now, all he and staff can do is wait — and tell callers to do the same.