Public/Global Health

Philadelphia ends rapid COVID-19 test giveaway after supplies run out

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The Philadelphia Health Department has ended its rapid COVID-19 test giveaway after supplies ran out, The Associated Press reported

A department spokesperson said on Wednesday that the giveaway scheduled for the Waterview Recreation Center in the city’s East Germantown neighborhood had to be canceled due to a lack of virus tests. 

The department began giving away free testing kits on Saturday in a series of community events that have seen residents wait in line for the kits, according to the AP. 

The spokesperson also said the department had a goal of giving out 24,000 kits, with two kits included in each set before the Christmas holiday, adding the department had distributed “virtually all” its rapid test kits through their events at nine walk-up vaccine clinics in the city.

The Biden administration announced this week that in January it would begin a nationwide program that will distribute free at-home testing kits to citizens who request them, the AP reported. 

The U.S. is currently dealing with a winter surge of COVID-19 infections as the omicron variant has taken hold across the nation.

The city’s health commissioner Cheryl Bettigole has urged citizens to avoid large gatherings during holiday celebrations because of rising COVID-19 infections in the city. 

Bettigole added if residents plan to go forward with holiday celebrations they should ask guests who feel sick to stay at home, try to have outdoor gatherings and ask attendees to get rapid tests.  

The Health Department said it ordered more tests as supplies waned, but was unsure if those orders would be filled due to the high demand nationwide and shortages, the AP noted.

Tags COVID-19 test kits free tests Health department Pennslyvania Philadelphia
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