PALM HARBOR, Fla. — “All of a sudden, within the past 10 days or so, the testing has really ramped up,” said Dr. Nicolette Mathey, Pharmacist and Owner of Palm Harbor Pharmacy.
Vaccines, booster shots, COVID-19 tests, and at-home tests — Palm Harbor Pharmacy has been doing it all.
“Multiple days this week, we’re much busier than we ever were during delta,” said Mathey.
That’s all thanks to the omicron variant.
“Unfortunately we’ve been seeing a lot more positives within the past 10 days,” said Mathey.
- Health experts believe omicron has mutated to be less severe to survive
- LIST: Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in the Tampa Bay area?
- Polk Health urges 'extreme caution' going into 2022 as COVID-19 cases skyrocket
This is a big concern as COVID-19 testing shortages worsen.
“The rapid tests are becoming very scarce, that the pharmacies use and the doctor’s offices use. The professional rapid tests, they’re becoming very, very scarce and hard to find. The PCR tests, they’re in a little better supply but those are more expensive because we process those in our on-site lab. I think that we’re going to see a shortage across the board in all kinds of COVID tests and at-home tests too,” said Mathey.
“It’ll be difficult. I know in other sites people are lining up for two, three hours already to get a test and the trouble is that these symptoms right now of this new variant resemble the flu,” she added.
It’s the perfect storm with cold and flu season, the omicron variant, the need for booster shots, and lots of traveling for the holidays — this local shop is slammed.
“It’s pretty much hitting us from all different directions even this week alone we’ve had days where we’ve had over 100 patient appointments per day in addition to all of our regular jobs at the pharmacy,” said Mathey.
Pharmacy workers are worried they won’t be getting a break anytime soon as cases continue to climb.
“Stay home until you feel better because this thing spreads like wildfire,” said Mathey.
The good news is there are some things you can do to treat your symptoms if you are sick.
“Definitely rest and hydration. Certainly, zinc taken with food will help to break up some virus particles. Vitamin D, Vitamin C, there’s a lot of just different natural remedies you can do along with resting your body and hydrating that will really help your immune system kick-off whatever is trying to take you down,” said Mathey.