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Casper-Natrona County Health rationing rapid COVID-19 tests amid supply shortage; PCR tests still ‘amply available’


CASPER, Wyo. — The Casper-Natrona County Health Department (CNCHD) said on Wednesday that it has been forced to change its COVID-19 testing policies due to a shortage of available testing supplies.

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

The health department said that its strategy now involves rationing rapid COVID-19 tests, reserving those for the most vulnerable populations.

PCR tests remain available at the health department. Those tests are now available “exclusively on a drive-up, no-appointment basis.”

The CNCHD has halted travel testing services.

The CNCHD shared the following points for the public to be aware of in regard to its COVID-19 testing:

• 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.

The health department said that it continues to recommend vaccinations and boosters for eligible populations to protect against COVID-19 and the Omicron variant that is sweeping across the county.

“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,” the health department said. “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.”

The Wyoming Department of Health provides COVID-19 case, variant, death, testing, hospital and vaccine data online. The department also shares information about how the data can be interpreted. COVID-19 safety recommendations are available from the CDC.