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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – As COVID-19 cases trend upward, more people are getting tested for the virus before traveling for the holidays.

But PCR tests take a little while to yield results, and rapid tests can be hard to find. That’s leading more people to turn to at-home testing options.

At Star Market Pharmacy in Huntsville, the last two tests on the shelves were sold within 15 minutes of News 19 crews arriving at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Two Huntsville-area Walgreens were completely sold out. The CVS Pharmacy on Whitesburg Drive sold their last test early Wednesday morning.

If you can find an at-home COVID test, it’s important to make sure you follow the kit’s instructions carefully to ensure accurate results.

Pharmacist Hashan Bihm says some of the most important things to remember are to wash your hands before testing and to avoid touching the part of the swab that goes inside your nose or the reagent area on the testing strip. This could contaminate the sample.

Dr. Wes Stubblefield with the Alabama Department of Public Health says at-home testing is a good option for people who are not currently experiencing symptoms but want a little extra peace of mind before visiting family members. He does not recommend at-home testing for people who are symptomatic or who have been exposed.

President Biden on Tuesday announced plans to ship 500 million at-home COVID tests right to Americans’ front doors. It’s still unclear when the program will begin or exactly how it will work.

Health officials continue to stress that the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated, including receiving a booster shot when eligible.