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How to find an at-home COVID-19 test today – CNET

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO and CDC websites.

Looking for an at-home COVID-19 test? With omicron cases surging all over the world, it can be difficult to casually pick up the best COVID-19 test possible to ensure you aren’t infected. If you need a COVID-19 test right now, and can’t wait for the free tests available to all Americans starting Jan. 15, your options are limited. 

But limited doesn’t mean nonexistent, and based on our research and experience in tracking tests down we’ve assembled some quick tips to help you secure a test much sooner. Depending on where you live, you may even be able to mask up and go out to get one today. 

Retailers with online restocks happening frequently 

If you feel like you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and want to order online to avoid being in a store, there are a handful of retailers with reliable online restocks with quick delivery options you can check. The three most frequently available based on our tracking are Walmart, Walgreens and Target

Check your local health departments

While it’s going to be a few weeks before the Biden administration is ready to invite Americans to place an order on a new website and have at-home tests delivered to your front door, there are many cities around the US currently offering free tests to pick up. To see if your area is one of these places, all you need to do is look for your local department of health. Many places are posting on social media accounts dedicated to your local health agency with where and when you can pick up a test for yourself. 

There are frequently rules associated with these municipal pick-up areas, like how many can be picked up at a time or confirmation that you live in the area, but these restrictions are often clearly outlined by your local health department before you arrive. 

Check pharmacies for local restocks

Depending on where you live, many pharmacies receive weekly or even daily restocks of at-home COVID-19 tests. The reason you haven’t frequently seen these tests on shelves at your local store is there are a lot of people who line up at these stores before they open or when a shipment truck arrives to buy these tests immediately. There’s no nice way to put this — many of the stores that offer at-home tests are already overloaded and understaffed, and they can’t put things on hold for you. 

If you can’t get tests delivered to your home in a timely manner, and you can’t find a free municipal restock, this is your best option: Some pharmacies, like Walgreens, will tell you online if there are local stores with stock available right now. If there’s no in-store stock listing for your local pharmacy online, you may need to call. If you go this route, please be patient. The people working at your local pharmacy are doing their best and need your kindness. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.