Vermont Covid-19 test distribution sites exhausted in rush ahead of vacation

Caitlyn Couture of the Waterbury Ambulance Service distributes a Covid-19 test at home in Berlin on Thursday, December 23, 2021. Photo by Glenn Russell / VTDigger

Updated at 2:06 p.m.

On a cold December morning, two days before Christmas, Vermonters lined up across the state to pick up Covid tests to take away before holiday meetings – only to be told, in many cases, that the tests had all gone.

State officials said on Tuesday that tens of thousands of test kits would be available Thursday at 16 distribution sites across the state. But late in the morning, the Department of Health announced that most sites were running out of antigen testing for the day. (Those who booked the LAMP tests through the department’s website should still be able to get them on Thursday, a department spokesperson said.)

The department said it would make more antigen test kits available on Friday, December 24. Two kits will be available per car or per person, on a first come, first served basis. Some distribution sites were already programmed distribute additional kits after Christmas.

Health ministry spokesman Ben Truman said the ministry is expected to have distributed 30,000 tests on Thursday, including around 25,000 antigen test kits and 5,000 LAMP tests. The department said it would increase its supply of antigen testing kits in the coming days, to a total of 96,000.

Drivers wait in long lines of traffic during the Covid-19 home test distribution in Berlin on Thursday, December 23, 2021. Photo by Glenn Russell / VTDigger

Antigen test kits provide results within 15 minutes, and although they are not as accurate as PCR tests, they are still considered very accurate.

LAMP tests – which work similarly to PCR tests, but provide faster results – are only available by appointment, the department said. The department’s appointment portal says there are no LAMP or PCR testing appointments available on Thursday, except for a handful in Orange County.

People who have already made LAMP appointments should still be able to take their tests, according to Truman.

“We recognize the frustration that (some) people may feel and hope that everyone – tested or not – will follow all of the recommended steps to help prevent the spread of the virus,” he said.

Videos and reports from Vermonters who requested testing showed that many distribution sites had long lines. Readers have told VTDigger about many sites that have closed or started limiting their supply to one kit per household by 10 a.m.

The department’s press release says Gov. Phil Scott’s administration continues to work on procuring more antigen testing, “but like other states, we are limited by the realities of supply at the level. federal”.

This story will be updated.

The following Transportation Agency facilities will distribute test kits on Friday starting at 8 a.m. while supplies last, according to the health ministry:

359 Bowen Road

5 Barnes Avenue

870 US Route 5

61 valley view

4611 US Route 5

680 Lower Newton Road

Saint Johnsbury
1098 US Route 5

White river junction
223 Beswick Drive

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Filed under:

Health care

Keywords: coronavirus, COVID-19

Erin Petenko

About Erin

Erin Petenko is the data and charts reporter for VTDigger, bringing the numbers to life to help Vermonters understand the condition they live in.

E-mail: [email protected]

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