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Worries about omicron creep into holiday plans

COVID-19 testing kits become difficult to find
Posted at 5:42 PM, Dec 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-20 18:21:02-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Concern over the omicron variant seems to be spreading just as fast the as virus itself. Meanwhile, doctors are still working to learn more about the strain as it spreads across the U.S.

It has only been about a month since omicron was first detected, and studies are ongoing.

The surging cases amid holiday travel have doctors worried.

With Christmas only a few days away, this is the holiday week many have been anticipating.

Rebecca Bennett arrived at Palm Beach International Airport from Houston on Monday to see her mother-in-law, fully aware of the omicron variant.

MORE: 5 things to know about omicron variant of COVID-19

"It weighs on my mind. We're going to be careful," Bennett said. "We're doing the at-home test when we see family, and we're all vaccinated and boosted."

Finding a home test kit may be part of the problem for many. At the Progress Pharmacy, kits are flying off the shelves.

Pharmacist Franck Kacou
Pharmacist Franck Kacou said his business is struggling to keep COVID-19 testing kits on the shelf amid high demand.

“We’re having a hard time getting the home test," pharmacist Franck Kacou said.

He said the huge demand and supply chain issues are leaving few boxes of the kits.

"We’re using one of the biggest wholesalers in the country, a pharmacy, and they're totally out, and so we're forced to go to different places to get them in, and unfortunately that’s also problematic," Kacou said.

Also problematic is trying to find out as much as possible about omicron as the Christmas holiday approaches.

Dr. Joanna Drowos, speaks on rising COVID cases, Dec. 20
Dr. Joanna Drowos said that she and her family have canceled an upcoming cruise due to rising COVID-19 cases.

Florida Atlantic University Dr. Joanna Drowos said unvaccinated people are at the greatest risk of contracting the virus. Receiving a booster shot is the best defense against omicron.

"The early studies out of South Africa, and some of the other places that have a little earlier experience than we do, kind of suggest it’s a milder variant," Drowos said. "People aren't as ill. There's evidence in the laboratory that the vaccines do offer some protection."

She said that studies still point to the delta variant as being more severe among the unvaccinated. Delta currently is still the dominant variant form of COVID in the country.