Today, President Biden announced several new initiatives to help fight the pandemic as the omicron variant contributes to a surge in new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. The announcement focused on testing and support for hospitals as they experience capacity and personnel challenges. CHA is grateful for the hard work by our national partner, the American Hospital Association, for helping the administration focus on the needs of hospitals as front-line caregivers.
While increasing federal testing sites over the next few days and invoking the Defense Protection Act to accelerate production of COVID-19 tests, the administration is also preparing to distribute 500 million free at-home COVID-19 test kits to Americans at their request. Details about the distribution are expected in January.
Additionally, the president has directed 1,000 military medical professionals to support overburdened hospitals and directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help with capacity and transport issues. Military medical personnel will be sent to hospitals in January and February as needed.
Because the federal response will come at the request of the state agencies, CHA advises hospitals to continue communicating with their Medical Health Operational Area Coordinator to request staffing or other resources they need.