By Karen Stokes
On December 15th, the Biden Administration announced their Winter COVID-19 Preparedness Plan to ensure Americans stay ahead of increases in COVID-19 cases this winter.
COVID-19 is not the disruptive force it once was, but the virus is still infecting people and cases are on the rise.
According to nytimes.com the test positivity rate in Milwaukee County is very high. An average of 233 cases per day were reported in Milwaukee County, a 31 percent increase from the average two weeks ago. Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 329,550 cases have been reported.
Families are gathering together for the holidays and spending more time inside.
Throughout the COVID-19 response, the Biden Administration has been prepared for whatever the virus throws our way and this moment is no different.
Elements of the plan consists of:
-Opening COVIDTests.gov for a limited time to give Americans another easy option to access testing when there’s greater need. Starting today, each U.S. household can order 4 free at-home tests at COVIDTests.gov, with tests starting to ship the week of December 19th.
-The administration is asking governors to step up now to get more people vaccinated and expand access to testing and treatments and reminding them of the significant federal support available to them, including personnel and critical supplies to address needs.
-Putting comprehensive surveillance capabilities to work in order to closely monitor Omicron sub variants that emerge here at home and around the world, monitor trends and stay on top of the virus.
-Working with pharmacies, grocery stores, community-based organizations, and other partners on the ground to distribute free high-quality masks.
-Expanding the pool of staff members at nursing homes who can administer shots and reaching out to governors where nursing home vaccination rates are low to offer our support.
-Releasing a winter playbook for nursing homes and long-term care facilities to accelerate action on updated vaccinations, treatment for residents testing positive, and indoor air quality.
The bottom line is there are tools, infrastructure and know-how needed to manage this moment – to protect people, prevent hospitalizations and deaths, minimize disruptions, and respond to challenges. Everyone just needs to do their part.
For more information on home tests people can visit www.COVIDTests.gov.