Options available to get at-home COVID-19 tests in the Treasure Valley

Posted at 8:30 PM, Nov 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 00:32:37-05

IDAHO  — Looking to purchase at-home COVID-19 tests can be hit or miss in Treasure Valley but at Medical Clinic Pharmacy in Caldwell, they have a few in stock.

“You can use them if you’re traveling and want to be careful to protect those that you might be traveling to from spreading it. You can use them if you have symptoms, you can use them if you have been exposed to somebody that has COVID,” said Tyler Higgins, pharmacy owner.

Higgins said the Quick-Vue At-Home OTC COVID-19 test can provide rapid results within 15 minutes.

Reddish Pharmacy in Nampa says they also have the at-home tests. But other local pharmacies say they don’t sell them or are hard to get a hold of. During the recent COVID-19 surge it was also hard to find tests.

“During that time at home COVID tests were very difficult to come by from our supply chain. Since then we have seen more accessibility to the tests. However, you never know when a surge might happen. You never know what the future holds employers as far as employers maybe demanding more at-home testing done for their employees. So, at any time there could be I guess hard to access the (At-Home) COVID-19 tests," Higgins said.

Higgins recommends calling your local pharmacy to check availability and the cost for the tests. You can also call the Idaho Care Line at 211 and request a different kind of at-home test, which takes a little longer.

The Idaho Health and Welfare Department (IDHW) is partnering with VAULT Medical medical to provide Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests. You simply collect a sample of your saliva and send it back to the lab.

“The VAULT tests are a great resource for someone who has taken a rapid test because they feel sick and need the more reliable results of a PCR test, which is a more sensitive test. Or someone who needs a result, but don’t need it immediately,” said Niki Forbing-Orr, Public Information Manager IDHW in an email.

If you need, a representative from VAULT Medical can walk you through the process via zoom call from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

PRC test results can take a few days so the health department recommends planning ahead if you're traveling.

To request a test you can call 2-1-1 or 1-800-926-2588 and the test is free through this service.

“The department has about 11,500 VAULT PCR tests available to anyone who calls the Idaho Care Line by dialing 2-1-1 anywhere in the state,” Forbing-Orr said in an email.