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COVID-19 test kits flying off store shelves, here's how to search for one; What to do if you can't find one

People across Kentucky are having a hard time finding an at-home test as many pharmacies and other stores that sell them are completely out.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — COVID-19 numbers increase across Kentucky, health officials push for more at-home testing. President Biden also announced his administration will buy half a billion at-home tests and make them available free.

With the holiday travel season, many people made a dash to stores to purchase tests for themselves or guests which left many shelves empty.

Kentuckians now find themselves having a hard time finding an at-home test as many pharmacies and other stores that sell them are completely out.

If you think you have COVID and you can't find an at-home test and you can't get an appointment booked, Dr. Jason Smith, chief medical officer at UofL Health, said to treat it like you have the virus.

"Use a little bit of common sense, same as you would if you thought this was the flu," Smith said. "Isolate yourself from your family and friends. Treat yourself as if you are infected, and in general, you want to do that for seven days."

WHAS 11's Political Reporter Rachel Droze asked Gov. Andy Beshear, D-Kentucky, why we're seeing this shortage of tests so far into the pandemic.

Beshear said there are a couple of reasons. 

First, people are buying at-home tests at record numbers right now because of the holidays and the omicron variant.

Beshear also said at-home tests are relatively new, so it's going to take a while for production to keep up with demand.

"This is going to be a short-term issue that is going to be addressed very soon by the U.S. government’s purchase of more tests,” Beshear said.

RELATED: Here's how Biden's COVID-19 test giveaway will work

Even so, Smith said it's possible testing availability, even at health care clinics and hospitals, will get worse before it gets better.

"I anticipate that those will also start to dry up here in the next few weeks as we start to see more people with symptoms,” Smith said.

Smith said testing capacity has been dealt with as a national and regional matter so stores are diverting supplies to areas of highest need.

"Luckily, we have not had that high of a demand compared to what we've seen in Ohio, Minnesota, parts of Indiana and Pennsylvania,” Smith said. “We will have that, I think, in the future. There will be shortages simply because we're running through a lot of those."

Where to get a COVID-19 test

WHAS11 has compiled a list of local testing options via the Team Kentucky website.

Click on Kentucky to search by ZIP code or county.

Pharmacies or clinics:

In October Louisville made free at-home test kits available for select ZIP codes. Mayor Greg Fischer announced the city's participation in the Say Yes! COVID Test program Tuesday. Louisville is one of eight cities chosen for the initiative created by the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

RELATED: Yes, at-home COVID-19 rapid tests are as accurate as rapid tests done at testing sites

RELATED: Households in select Louisville ZIP codes eligible for free, at-home COVID-19 test kits

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