Pittsburgh area pharmacies and health clinics face COVID-19 test shortage

PITTSBURGH — Concerns over the summer surge of COVID-19 has caused more people to get tested for the virus.

This has left a significant strain on Pittsburgh area pharmacies and health clinics.

Channel 11 spoke with a testing center in the North Hills. They’ve seen an uptick in COVID-19 testing since Labor Day weekend.

Meanwhile, the owner told us they were also running low on rapid tests because there’s a supply shortage.

“It kind of snuck up on us that there was this increase in testing and at the same time there was a shortage for our wholesalers to get more rapid tests so we were actually down to the last test,” explained Connectedhealth owner Betty Rich.

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Connectedhealth in Wexford nearly ran out of COVID-19 rapid tests, as more people are getting tested now. That’s because kids are back in school, people are returning to the workplace and many folks just traveled or were in large groups over the holiday weekend.

“In the last few days we’ve had people calling saying they can’t get into some of the big box places for testing: there are no tests available or no time slots available,” Rich said.

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Luckily Connectedhealth was able to get a new shipment of rapid tests. Right now they have time slots available for testing but they are filling up quickly for both rapid and PCR tests, as well as for antibody tests and booster shots.

“A lot of people are curious, especially as they factor that into their booster vaccinations decisions, people are in the mindset that if my antibodies levels are already high that I may not need my booster right now,” explained Christopher Conti, a physician at Connectedhealth.

But as COVID-19 cases rise it’s raising concern as we enter the colder months and holiday season. The center hopes it won’t run into more problems with the rapid tests.

“But Thanksgiving holiday parties holiday travel keeps kids coming back from college, the number of tests are going to skyrocket just like how it did this time last year,” said Conti.

Connectedhealth is preparing for that possible uptick in testing in the upcoming months. That’s why it is ordering extra tests to make sure it has enough on hand.