Inslee announces free at-home testing, masks amid surge in omicron cases

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Amid a surge in coronavirus cases due to omicron variant, Gov. Jay Inslee announced expanded at home-testing, higher vaccination capacity and free masks in an attempt to contain the spread.

Washington has experienced a huge surge in cases over the last few weeks as the omicron variant has taken hold locally.

Inslee announced several steps the state is taking to help control the surge and flatten the curve.

The key points are:

  • Free at-home tests that will be distributed to underserved communities; tests will also be available to order online free of charge in a few weeks
  • Expanded capacity at mass vaccination sites
  • Free masks for distribution at schools and in local communities

Watch the announcement live:

The state ordered 800,000 at-home tests and is expecting another 2 million this week. Some of the tests are being sent directly to schools and local health departments.

The state also partnered with CareEvolution and Amazon to create a web portal where people can order tests directly to their homes. The portal is expected to go live in a few weeks, according to a release from the governor’s office.

Washington also ordered 10 million more masks, including KN95 and surgical masks, to be distributed over the next few weeks.

Inslee said that testing capacity at mass vaccination sites will also be increased. The Auburn FEMA mobile vaccination clinic will be able to accommodate thousands more appointments per day. Another high-capacity site is also being added in northwest Washington the week of Jan. 18.

Get all of the latest coronavirus news here.