IOWA, USA — Tuesday, the White House announced an aggressive approach to battle the now-dominant COVID-19 variant omicron; including the deployment of more federal health resources to defend against another surge.
President Biden is urging people to get in for a vaccine and a booster dose.
Iowa health officials echo President Biden's recommendations with urgency as we are approaching the holidays, where many will gather with their friends and loved ones. Nola Aigner Davis, communications director for Polk County Public Health, recommended a time frame in which you should get tested before you gather.
"Let's think about all the family members or individuals were gathering with. And let's talk about their immunization status. So if they're fully vaccinated, and they fully have their boosters, it may not always be important to get to take that COVID-19 at-home test, because ideally, if everyone has their COVID vaccines and their boosters, this is a really great scenario for all," Aigner Davis said. "Then it really looks at if who we're gathering with they're if they're not fully vaccinated or if they're not vaccinated. at all this is when we want them to be taking a test, okay, we really want to look at the 24 to 48 hours ahead of time, we're going to gather with them."
The owner of Medicap Pharmacy in Urbandale John Forbes acknowledged the need for at-home testing kits is here, but the cost can be a barrier for some.
"We need to have good and accurate testing. And it's got to be free or very low cost for people to do," Forbes said.
Forbes said he is struggling to have enough of the at-home test kits in his own pharmacy.
"We got a shipment in yesterday and by 10 o'clock yesterday morning. We ran out we had such high demand for them," Forbes said. "We're hoping to get some more test kits in maybe before the end of this week. But I think with the Biden administration announcing today that they are going to have 500 million test kits available to people around our country... I think that will greatly ease the pressure of kits around the country and around the state of Iowa."
Right now, at-home kits range from $20-40 John Forbes says if those aren't available your next step is PCR testing which is not covered by insurance. Meaning the cost of $120 to receive PCR testing is out of pocket for Americans.
WATCH | Des Moines area doctors say resources are dwindling as COVID-19 infections continue to spread