Inslee: Washington state to distribute millions of at-home COVID tests, masks amid omicron surge

Washington state will begin distributing millions of at-home coronavirus tests and masks and will expand vaccination clinics in an effort to blunt the wave of omicron cases, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday.

The state is in possession of 800,000 at-home tests and expects at least 4.7 million more to arrive next week, which state health officials have purchased from vendors, according to the governor’s office. Those come on top of the 400,000 tests to be purchased by King County, which county officials announced earlier on Wednesday. And the numbers announced by Inslee are in addition to any that might come from the federal government, according to the governor’s office. State officials plan to make some of those tests available to schools, as well as local health districts, in an effort to make sure tests reach underserved communities.

Washington officials are also partnering with Amazon and CareEvolution to create a web portal that people can use to order coronavirus home tests for free. That portal isn’t operational yet and is expected to become live in the coming weeks.

Additionally the state is planning to distribute roughly 10 million masks — such as KN95 and surgical masks — from existing supplies. Those masks will be sent in the coming weeks to local communities through emergency management officials, as well as to K-12 schools.

The state is also hoping to expand the capacity of vaccine sites to help administer more booster shots. (Seattle Times)

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