CVS limits the number of COVID rapid tests a customer can buy as cases of the Delta variant spike

The Ellume COVID 19 Home Test
  • CVS is running out of at-home COVID-19 tests due to an increase in demand.
  • Customers are limited to buying four tests in-store and six online at a time.
  • The Delta variant continues to surge as many Americans return to the office or go back to school this fall.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

CVS is limiting the number of at-home coronavirus tests customers can buy amid surges of the Delta variant across the US.

Originally having been able to purchase an unlimited number of tests, customers are now only allowed to purchase a maximum of six at a time from the CVS website or four at a time while shopping in-store, according to an email sent Friday from a CVS spokesperson. The tests are still available without a prescription.

The purchasing restraint is caused by manufacturing delays from suppliers of the tests. The limited tests include the Abbott BinaxNOW and Ellume at-home tests, the CVS spokesperson told Insider.

“Abbott has continuously been manufacturing tests, and we have been scaling up manufacturing as we saw demand increase when Delta became the dominant strain and new CDC guidance called for a re-prioritization of testing,” a spokesperson from Abbott Laboratories told Insider in an email. “We’re hiring people and turning on parts of our manufacturing network that were idled or slowed when guidance changed and demand plunged.”

Ellume is experiencing similar issues, telling Bloomberg they are “scaling production and working with retailers to ensure consumer access to its tests.” Ellume did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.

CVS cites “high demand” as a reason for the shortage of the tests. Abbott says they expect some supply constraints as they try to meet this increased need in tests. Demands for testing have grown as people return to school or the office this fall.

“We’re continuing to work with our suppliers to meet customer demand,” a CVS spokesperson said.

As coronavirus continues to spread, at-home testing is a popular option for those looking for quick results. The Delta variant is now responsible for most of the cases in the US and spreads faster and more easily than the earlier-detected versions of the coronavirus.