COVID-19 tests available, but supplies limited, in Cambridge area
The shortage of rapid, home-based, self-administered COVID-19 test kits has made it difficult to find them in Guernsey County, but there are still many options for local residents.
“We sell the rapid home tests, but they are difficult to keep in stock,” said Carol Rose, deputy director of Rite Aid pharmacy in Cambridge. “We offer drive-thru COVID testing, but it is not a quick test. These tests are sent out and the results are usually available within three to five days.”
Pharmacist Michelle Carmichael, pharmacy manager at Walmart on Southgate Parkway in Cambridge, agreed that it was difficult to keep rapid tests in stock.
“They arrive early in the morning but they are gone quickly, usually before I even get to work,” Carmichael said.
The Walmart Pharmacy does not offer any other COVID testing onsite.
Rapid home tests are also sold at the CVS Pharmacy on Wheeling Avenue, according to the pharmacy’s website.
Other local in-person COVID-19 testing options, including Muskingum Valley Health Center and Southeastern Med on Clark Street in Cambridge and CVS Pharmacy on Wheeling Avenue in downtown Cambridge.
Appointments for testing at CVS can be made on its website, cvs.com/coronavirus.
“We are actively testing in the four counties we primarily serve,” said Richard Fulkerson, executive director of the MVHC. The counties include Guernsey, Muskingum, Morgan and Coshocton.
Symptomatic patients can go to MVHC emergency care, where they will be visited to see a provider for a test. Emergency care is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday
Patients can also call 800-454-5157 to make an appointment.
Limited testing is available at Southeastern Med.
“We offer outpatient testing on a physician’s prescription,” confirmed Southeastern Med President / CEO Wendy Elliott.
The Columbus Dispatch recently reported that Mike Gray, whose company CMG Partners II, imports and distributes COVID-19 tests, said there were not enough manufactured tests to fulfill what the Biden administration and state governments have pledged schools and communities.
Alcon, one of the test makers, only performs around 102 million tests per month, Gray said. And Abbott, another manufacturer, does about 50 million tests per month and goes up to 70 million, he said.
“Testing is going to be a real challenge for this country,” Gray said. “You can’t take them out of the health systems so that the kids go to school.”
On Wednesday, Guernsey County’s three school districts – East Guernsey, Cambridge City and Rolling Hills – remained in class with in-person learning.
The Guernsey County District Public Library has also distributed free home test kits, but is currently not being tested.
“We are expecting a shipment anytime and expect to receive up to 4,000 during the month of January,” said manager Michael Simer. “People can call, visit our Facebook page, or visit our website to see when testing is available.”
Contact the library online at www.guernseycountylibrary.org, or by phone at Crossroads Branch, 740-432-7536; Downtown branch, 740-432-5946; or Byesville branch, 740-685-2236.
According to Simer, the library distributed 1,700 tests over a three-and-a-half-day period in December, as the Christmas holidays approached.
The Ohio Department of Health reported 2,093,074 cases of COVID-19 statewide on Tuesday, including 7,961 in Guernsey County and 2,473 in Noble County.
Muskingum County leads the counties surrounding Guernsey County with 18,958 cases followed by Tuscarawas, 16,859; Belmont, 11,731; Coshocton, 6,247; and Harrison, 2499.
Coronavirus cases in Guernsey County have resulted in 607 hospitalizations and 103 deaths while Noble County health officials report 162 hospitalizations and 50 deaths.
Vaccination rates in Guernsey and Noble counties also continue to rise, although both counties remain behind statewide percentages for vaccinations started and completed.
“We continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated,” Elliott said. “Omicron is here, so please continue to wear your masks and your social distancing.”
Omicron is the main variant of the coronavirus in the United States and is responsible for the recent explosion of cases that have exceeded 20,000 per day statewide.
Guernsey County health officials report that 17,477 residents (44.9%) had started COVID vaccinations with 16,318 (41.89%) having completed the process.
Thirteen new residents received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine in the 24 hours leading up to January 4, and 22 residents completed the process during the same period.
Additional booster doses in Guernsey County total 6,962 with 83 new doses over a 24-hour period.
In Noble County, 6,310 residents (43.75%) have started receiving vaccines and 5,977 (41.43%) have completed the process. The additional doses add up to 2,470 with 23 new doses given in the 24 hours leading up to Tuesday.
Several Guernsey County sites, including the Cambridge-Guernsey County Health Department, continue to offer COVID vaccinations.
“We don’t offer any testing at the health department, but we do offer walk-in vaccination clinics,” said Rose Ball, administrator of the health department. “All clinics are from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.”
The health department at 326 Highland Ave. in Cambridge offers Moderna vaccines on Mondays, Johnson & Johnson on Wednesdays and Pfizer on Fridays.
“We also offer vaccines and boosters in all four counties,” said Fulkerson of MVHC. “We offer appointments, walk-in vaccinations and booster shots every day, Monday through Friday. “
Rite Aid and CVS continue to offer vaccinations with scheduled appointments on each pharmacy’s website. Rite Aid’s website is www.riteaid.com.
Residents recommended by Ball call any testing or vaccination provider in advance to ensure that COVID-19 tests and / or vaccines are available.
“Changes in the vaccine product and its distribution make it difficult to maintain a correct and accurate list,” Ball said. “If we get phone calls, we ask them to call the facility to check the vaccine products available. “
The Riesbeck Pharmacy on South 23rd Street in Cambridge does not currently offer vaccines or tests, but there are plans to resume vaccinations in the near future. No date has been set for the resumption of service.
A member of the pharmacy staff said they were trying to get more tests, but were unsuccessful.
Visit coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/dashboards/other-resources/testing-ch-centers to learn more about COVID-19 testing in Ohio.