MYNORTHWEST NEWS

UW expert: ‘Really disappointed’ to see free COVID testing end for uninsured

Mar 23, 2022, 10:29 AM

testing...

A health worker waits at an empty COVID-19 testing center at the Washington State Convention Center on March 9, 2022, in Seattle, Washington. Once crowded, testing sites are mostly now devoid of patients. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The federal program that provided free COVID testing for uninsured individuals ended Tuesday after running out of money, when Congress and the White House could not agree on budget numbers.

Washington health leaders urge continued mask wearing after mandate lifts

Dr. Ali Mokdad, chief strategy officer of epidemiology at the University of Washington, says he is very disappointed that the federal government is going to stop paying for the testing.

“Right now what we are seeing is a decline in cases, so it will not be as needed as it was before. However, this could change at any time,” he told KIRO Newsradio.

Mokdad says free testing and treatment has been very important in fighting the spread of the virus.

“When we were seeing a surge, we needed to know how many people are infected, and where, and when. It was very important to provide free testing,” he said.

“I would love to see this be continued, especially in our state, because we need to take care of people who are not able,” he added. “It’s very important for us to sustain it and keep it going on. I’m really disappointed that we are not doing so.”

With COVID on the descent, travel at Sea-Tac Airport takes off

He is also concerned that combination of changing behaviors, like not wearing masks and increased mobility, mixed with waning immunity could cause the COVID-19 case numbers to jump back up.

“The federal government should be able to make funds available for that and look at it right now. We are providing funds to a lot of justified causes as well, but we need to get our priority right,” he said.

Mokdad is asking the medical community to let their representatives know that they want the funding for tests to continue.

For those in need of at-home COVID tests, the state is still offering two orders a month per household in Washington while supplies last. Each order contains five tests.

MyNorthwest News

uw president cauce...

Frank Sumrall

UW President Ana Mari Cauce to step down after 10 years

UW President Ana Mari Cauce will step down from leading the university once her second five-year term ends in June 2025.

14 hours ago

Image: All lanes on Interstate 5 south in Everett were closed on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. It cause...

Steve Coogan

All lanes have reopened on I-5 south in Everett after an unexpected closure

All lanes reopened on Interstate 5 (I-5) south in Everett after an incident closed them Wednesday, the Department of Transportation reported.

14 hours ago

Image: A dog was found around 2 a.m. on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 at Colman Dock in Seattle without ...

Steve Coogan

Is your friend missing? Dog found on a Washington ferry without its owner

A dog was found without its owner in Seattle early Wednesday and Washington State Ferries is attempting to reunite the two.

14 hours ago

Photo: Front and back of Olympic "Boys in the Boat" rower John White's gold medal....

Julia Dallas

‘Part of our legacy’: ‘Boys in the Boat’ rower’s family yearns to bring gold medal home

"Boys in the Boat" rower John White's Olympic gold medal was put up for auction. His grandson Colby White is fighting to get it back.

15 hours ago

Sinatra-McCaw...

Feliks Banel

Frank Sinatra still sings in Seattle

On a late spring day nearly 60 years ago, one of the biggest names in show business came to Seattle and played a concert on a Sunday evening. It turned out to be a show that’s been echoing in some parts of the music world ever since.

16 hours ago

tacoma fire...

Frank Sumrall

One person, two dogs dead in Tacoma apartment building fire

Firefighters found one person and two dogs dead inside a Tacoma apartment following a fire there early Wednesday.

18 hours ago

UW expert: ‘Really disappointed’ to see free COVID testing end for uninsured