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Thousands of at-home COVID-19 testing kits being distributed to Erie County residents

Many of the giveaways are running out of COVID tests within minutes.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — If you tried getting an at-home COVID testing kit at one of the giveaways this weekend, but they ran out before you got one, you're not alone. 2 On Your Side heard from a bunch of people who waited in long lines over the weekend and on Monday.

Thousands of people across Erie County have already picked up their free at-home testing kits, but the demand outweighs the supply.

New York State sent kits to counties, and they sent them to the municipalities. So in Sloan on Monday morning, they gave away their allotment of kits and still had some masks left. They said their next giveaway will be in the evening to accommodate people's schedules. 

Cheektowaga gave away all of its testing kits on Monday, too, and traffic was backed up on Harlem Road.

"So we had no choice for safety concerns other than just to start getting the cars through, so we're moving pretty good right now. What I'm being told by people coming through, they're in line now, about 15, 20 minutes to get a kit," said Town of Cheektowaga Police Chief Brian Gould. 

RELATED: Free at-home COVID antigen tests distributed around WNY

"We know that people who are working during the day can't make it here. We know that traffic is backed up on Harlem Road a little bit. We're doing our best to try to keep everybody happy, and so far I think we're doing okay with it," added Chief Gould. "We've ran other events in this park, other drive-thru events, so we know that we could stack four-hundred cars in the park. We know where we need cars for traffic control, so we were prepared for it. Again, we're going to do our best. We know that there will be some people who are inconvenienced by the traffic, and some people who couldn't make it here. We'll keep that in mind if we get future distribution of these."

One viewer, Sandi Marie, asked us on Twitter about whether Buffalo was doing a giveaway. So we took her question to the city. We are told kits will be given away Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. at the following locations:

  • The Belle Center, 104 Maryland Street
  • Delavan Grider Community Center, 877 E Delavan Avenue
  • JFK Community Center, 114 Hickory Street
  • Northwest Buffalo Community Center, 155 Lawn Avenue
  • Tosh Collins Community Center, 35 Cazenovia Street

Each location will have 1,500 test kits. The City’s remaining 3,500 kits will be distributed through the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority to its residents, and through the City’s senior centers. 

No one from Erie County was able to talk with us today on-camera, but a spokesperson gave us some information. Erie County has distributed more than 39,000 boxes, or more than 78,000 tests, to its municipalities. If you weren't able to get one, but need a COVID test, you can call the county at (716) 858-2929 to schedule a free test. You do need an appointment. If you have symptoms, you'll get a rapid test. If you do not have symptoms, you will get a PCR test and will get results in one to three business days. There are also state testing sites in Western New York.

The Town of Alden announced on Monday that it will hold a giveaway for residents on Saturday, January 15 from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. at the Alden Town Hall. Proof of residency is required.