Biden Administration providing free COVID tests as cases expected to rise

Biden Administration providing free COVID tests as cases expected to rise
Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 8:12 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 25, 2023 at 9:40 AM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The Biden Administration announced everyone will have access to free COVID-19 tests starting Monday.

The plan also includes relaunching a website allowing Americans to order up to four free tests per household. The administration said the plan is trying to prevent possible shortages of tests during an expected rise in COVID cases, which usually happens during the colder months. The worst COVID spikes have happened in November, December, and January in past years, according to several Kansas City-area chief medical officers involved in a meeting last week.

While they hope this year is different, they simply don’t know yet.

A dozen companies will be responsible for making 200 million over-the-counter tests to restock federal supplies.

The Department of Health and Human Services said orders will be accepted at starting Monday and the tests will be sent through the U.S. Postal Service.

Health experts from Kansas City Hospitals said they are beginning to see an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations as more employees call in sick.

The University of Kansas Health System hosted an online forum that included leaders from seven area hospitals last week – the first COVID update from KU Health, involving all of the hospitals, in nine months.

“This is not something we can blow off,” said Dr. Steve Stites, University of Kansas Health Chief Medical Officer.

KC-area health departments and pharmacies have not started offering the new vaccine yet, but CVS confirmed stores began receiving the updated vaccine last week.

COVID hospitalizations are up 5% across the country in the past week according to data provided by the CDC.

Liberty Hospital’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Chakshu Gupta said they are seeing clusters of cases in some of their nursing homes and long-term care facilities – small clusters but still some.

Just like in past years older individuals, infants, and people with chronic health conditions are also at an increased risk of COVID.

“If you have symptoms test early and if you can get on those oral antivirals, especially Paxlovid, that’s gonna significantly reduce your chance of going to the hospital as well,” said Dr. Dana Hawkinson, University of Kansas Infectious Disease Specialist.

The full online forum is available to watch online at the University of Kansas Health System’s Facebook page.

To order your free COVID tests, click here.

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