Before you head out to your favorite Hudson Valley pharmacy to stock up on at-home COVID tests, make sure you are aware that most brands have a shelf life.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, one thing I think we can all agree on is that when it comes to panic buying, we are all pretty good at it. Flashback to the beginning when it was impossible to find paper towels, and toilet paper - it was almost impossible.

Well, it looks like panic buying is back and getting crazy, but this time around, it's not paper towels or cleaning products, it's for at-home COVID test kits. If you've been to your local pharmacy, you've probably already noticed that finding test kits is getting harder and harder each day and with supply chain issues everywhere, it might be a little while before you'll be able to find them.

Do Stores Still Have Test Kits?

I went into the CVS on Route 9 in Poughkeepsie yesterday to see if they had any kits for sale and the cashier told me that they were out but were expecting a delivery on Friday. She did go on to tell me that I should plan on getting there early if I wanted to buy any because as soon as they come in, "they are all bought up really fast" she said.

Florida's Broward County Hands Out Free At-Home COVID Rapid Test Kits
Getty Images

How Long is the Shelf Life of At-Home COVID Test Kits?

Most of the at-home test kits that are available for purchase do have a shelf-life of about two to three months according to New York Assembly Member John McDonald. McDonald, who is also a pharmacist, told News 10 that he's worried about panic buying when it comes to testing kits, "I get very concerned about people just, ‘oh I ran into somebody yesterday that’s positive, I need to get tested today.’ No, you don’t need to get tested today unless you’re symptomatic."

McDonald also said that it's important for people to not stockpile testing kits because as pharmacists start to receive COVID antiviral medicine, they can't give it to sick people without a positive test result and if there are no tests for symptomatic people to take, they won't be able to get the medicine that could help them.

Here in the Hudson Valley, many places have started to offer FREE at-home COVID test kits. From county government to local schools, many places have given residents and students the opportunity to claim free tests in hopes of slowing down the spread of the virus.

If you've received any of these FREE kits make sure you check the expiration date on the box because some kits could show false results if used after the expiration date.

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