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COVID-19 at-home tests still in high demand across Connecticut

Although the holidays are over, we found you’re still going to have to hunt around before you can get your hands on a test kit in stores.

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. — With the demand for COVID-19 at-home test kits still high, FOX61 set out to see just how hard it is to get a test kit in stores.

“Before the holidays, it got really tough because everyone was trying to get tested and even if you did have symptoms, you couldn’t find a test kit anywhere,” Julie Bowers, a New Britain resident, said.

Although the holidays are over, we found you’re still going to have to hunt around before you can get your hands on one in stores.

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We went to three stores in New Britain with no luck at Stop & Shop or CVS, but we found a shelf full of at-home test kits that were $23.99 a piece at Walgreens.

Online, most pharmacy chains we checked are out of stock. On Amazon, you’re looking at paying anywhere from $19-$90 on a kit with one to two weeks until it arrives at your door.

At-home test kits are just one option. Health experts say rapid tests are less sensitive than PCR tests, but it can take longer to get those results.

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New Britain gave out just under 3,000 test kits at a distribution event Wednesday evening. The line ran smoothly inside the Veterans Stadium parking lot and residents said they got through quickly.

On the national level, the federal government is working to expand access to free testing, the Biden-Harris Administration is requiring insurance companies to cover the cost of at-home COVID-19 tests starting Saturday, according to the US Department of Health & Human Services.

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In Connecticut, State Representative Holly Cheeseman (R-37) is calling for the repeal of the state sales tax on the kits. The sales tax is 6.35 percent.

“At the very least, we as a state and as legislators should do our bit to make them more affordable and removing sales tax is a way of doing that,” she said.

Cheeseman said in order for the proposed sales tax repeal to become a reality, Gov. Ned Lamont would have to use his executive power, or the state legislature would need to vote on the proposal after they’re back in session next month.

Elisha Machado is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at emachado@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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