PHILADELPHIA—The Health Department is cancelling the rapid at-home COVID-19 test giveaway at Waterview Recreation Center scheduled for Thursday, December 23rd due to a lack of testing kits.

COVID-19 testing, especially rapid at-home tests, have been more difficult to secure in recent weeks. Today, several national pharmacy chains announced that they are limiting purchases of rapid at-home test kits due to their own shortages. These shortages are caused or compounded by unprecedented demand for COVID-19 testing. The Health Department reported more than 13,000 COVID-19 test results received today, which is the single highest number of test results received in one day thus far in the pandemic. More than 60,000 test results have been received per week for each of the last three weeks.

The Health Department’s testing kit giveaway started on Saturday, December 18th with the goal of distributing 24,000 testing kits, each containing two tests, before Christmas. The testing kits were distributed at nine Health Department walk-up vaccine clinics held throughout the city and several small community outreach events in target neighborhoods. Virtually all of the testing kits have been successfully distributed.

The testing kits distributed through this giveaway program used the Health Department’s stores, purchased with CDC pandemic response funding. The Health Department has placed a number of orders for additional testing kits prior to this week and is unsure of when these orders will be fulfilled. Earlier this week, the White House announced an upcoming program to distribute rapid at-home testing kits directly to the public, but that program will not start until after the new year.

The vaccine clinic at Waterview Recreation Center (5826 McMahon Avenue, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) is still scheduled and will be offering free first-, second-, and booster dose adult vaccines as well as first- and second-dose pediatric doses. People who are interested in receiving a vaccine at this clinic can walk-up or set an appointment for the morning hours. The vaccine clinic at Waterview Recreation Center will not have any testing kits to give away.

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