Local, State and Federal help rushing to alleviate Omicron testing strain
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - COVID-19 tests are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. The Omicron surge now pushing demand higher than ever before. Both state and local experts aren’t denying the issues.
“We definitely have a strain in our system and we can’t meet the complete demand currently for testing,” said Jefferson County Department of Health Deputy Health Officer Dr. David Hicks.
To handle the strain, the Jefferson County Department of Health is working to reopen a mass testing site where appointments won’t be necessary.
“We are hoping to announce very soon potentially an additional large scale testing site where people can go get tested because we know there is a lot of strain on our hospital systems already,” said Dr. Hicks.
State health officer Dr. Scott Harris says the Department of Public Health will be taking a similar approach, but targeting the communities most in need of aid.
“We’re working with the vendors we worked with previously to get those established, in particular in the parts of the state that don’t have a lot of testing,” said Dr. Harris.
On January 19th, you’ll be able to order a COVID test to your door free of charge. The White House announcing now five hundred million rapid tests are being made available.
You’ll be able to order a free COVID test starting January 19th here. Tests will usually ship within 12 days of ordering. The Biden Administration also announced that on January 15th, private health insurance companies will have to cover at-home COVID-19 tests for free.
“I think it’s great but the issue is we have a race against time, because people need access to testing immediately because we have such a high rate of spread. So I think that once people can start ordering these tests and get it shipped to their house, I think the question I think is going to be how quickly can they ship it to your house,” said Dr. Hicks.
Beginning January 15th, your insurance will cover up to eight COVID tests a month for each individual on your insurance plan. Still healthcare workers are reminding the community that you shouldn’t visit your local emergency room simply to seek a test.
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