SAN ANTONIO – The highly infectious omicron variant has COVID-19 cases on the rise. The increase has people looking for convenient at home tests and higher quality face masks, but they’re hard to find.
KSAT 12 went around San Antonio looking for at home tests and KN95 and N95 masks, but had no luck. Often signs were found at stores saying they were sold out or out of stock.
San Antonio residents had similar experiences dating back before Christmas and say they still have not been able to get an at home test.
“We went to a couple different CVS and Walgreens (stores) and they were out of stock. We missed seeing our parents on Christmas Eve and had to wait the next day to get tested,” Anthony Alcoser, a resident said.
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Ruth Berggren explained cloth masks simply aren’t a good enough defense against the Omicron variant.
DHR encourages people to wear KN95 and N95 face masks. It seems people have listened to that advice because stores were also out of those when sought on Wednesday.
“If you find yourself in a close crowd like that, you better have your mask on. And it should be a really good mask like a N95 or an N95 mask, or at the very least, a surgical mask,” said Berggren said.
Employees at a Walgreens on Hildebrand Avenue and San Pedro Avenue said they expect a shipment both Friday and Saturday. They believe they’ll be wiped out of their stock on those same afternoons.
KSAT 12 did find much better luck online. We were able to find an at home test and have it delivered to us in 45mins on the app go puff. The app also had lots availability of higher quality masks. The Go Puff app is similar to Doordash, Favor, and Uber Eats. Amazon is another good site for online shopping options.
The prices, however, online did vary. To make sure not to overpay, you can use the website CamelCamelCamel.com.
It monitors prices, and it showed a pack of KN95 masks was $30 on October, and today it was just under $80. At its peak, the price for one type of at-home test was around $35, but on Wednesday it was $24.88.