New Mexicans search for COVID-19 at-home tests amid Omicron surge

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Access to testing has historically been one of the only things New Mexicans could count on during the past few months, but now demand is simply outweighing supply with the Omicron scare mixed with the holidays.

NMDOH says it’s an issue it’s aware of, and definitely a concern as more people search pharmacies and stores for at-home tests.

"It’s just scary,” said Amy Zacarias, a mother searching for a COVID-19 test for her son. “You try to do everything right, you try to follow the guidance and the resources that are provided to you and when they’re broken it’s very frustrating you’re like ‘what do I do now?’"

She says she’s disappointed in the system.

"You know we’re living in a time of continual change, we don’t know what’s coming next, and we thought we had good processes in place but we just don’t,” said Zacarias. “I found that out today."

New Mexicans do have options for tracking down tests, either for at-home use or at a facility.

  • Check NMDOH website for availability at state-sponsored testing sites
  • Check other medical providers like Curative for more availability
  • Duke City Urgent Care is offering non-symptom testing at one site on a first come, first served basis
  • Pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS have limited supply at some locations for at-home tests

Health leaders say if a person thinks they have been exposed and has symptoms, they are urged to isolate and find a test. Even with an over the counter negative result, if there are symptoms on top of likely exposure, you’re urged to stay home and retest.

NMDOH is also working on getting and distributing free rapid home tests for the public, starting with vulnerable communities. There’s no timeline on when that could happen yet.