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Health Department shifts testing procedure due to supply shortage

Health Department shifts testing procedure due to supply shortage Jan. 12, 2022 – Due to the nationwide shortage of COVID testing supplies during the recent omicron surge, the Casper-Natrona County Health Department (CNCHD) is shifting its test strategies, including rationing rapid tests, eliminating travel testing and offering PCR tests exclusively on a drive-up, no-appointment basis.

The national and local spike in COVID cases and testing is forcing county health officials to modify testing policies. CNCHD Executive Director Anna Kinder’s new plan includes reserving rapid tests for the most vulnerable populations and eliminating testing appointments.

At this time, the public should know:

• COVID tests are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. in a drive-through line outside the CNCHD building at 475 S. Spruce St.
• PCR tests are still amply available, so anyone who is experiencing COVID symptoms or has been exposed to a positive case can and should get a PCR test. Expect results in 2-5 days.
• Rapid tests are in very short supply and are largely unavailable to most individuals.
• All travel testing is suspended until further notice. This policy will be re-evaluated in February.
• Testing will only be administered by drive-up to the Spruce Street location. Appointments, online or by phone, are no longer available.
• Please do not enter the building if you need a test.
• Expect a line when you come to get tested, and please be patient with testing staff.
• All tests are free.

“Up until now, we were immune to the shortages the rest of the country had been experiencing for weeks. We’re handling and managing the situation, but we need the community’s support through this difficult and potentially dangerous time,” Kinder said.

Vaccinations and boosters remain the best protection against omicron and COVID. According to Wyoming Medical Center physician Dr. Andy Dunn, 1 in 5 unvaccinated people infected with COVID are hospitalized whereas just 1 in 50 vaccinated people are hospitalized. CNCHD is administering boosters as well as first and second doses Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. inside the building at 475 S. Spruce St. All vaccines are free for patients.