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State sees high demand for for COVID-19 testing

Demand for COVID-19 tests has increased sharply in the past month, according to a news release from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Although tests are still available, with the rise of the omicron variant and holiday gatherings, at-home test kits have been in short supply at retail stores as well as through the state, according to the release.

Wednesday, Columbia pharmacies were struggling to meet demand for at-home test kits, according to previous Missourian reporting.

The state offers free at-home test kits to be shipped to residents upon request. Since the program's inception in May, the state had 6,500 requests for kits. In December alone, that number climbed to 15,000, spokesperson Lisa Cox said in an email.

The kits are delivered within two days and last for six months. They must be mailed to a lab for results.

The state is continuing drive-through COVID-19 testing and is working to establish more locations for testing in St. Louis and Kansas City this coming week, according to the release.

Check for vaccine appointments at vaccines.gov or call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 vaccine hotline at 1-800-232-0233. Locate local vaccination events at MOStopsCovid.com.

"We are grateful to see individuals deciding to get tested to limit any unintended spread of the virus," Donald Kauerauf, Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said in the release.

The Columbia Missourian is a community news organization managed by professional editors and staffed by Missouri School of Journalism students who do the reporting, design, copy editing, information graphics, photography and multimedia.