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Federal funding for COVID-19 resources dwindling; how it affects the ArkLaTex

*NOTE: This is a stock photo.
*NOTE: This is a stock photo.(Calah Thompson / USMC)
Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 1:51 PM CDT
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(KSLA) - Federal funding is running out for COVID-19 initiatives like free community testing and vaccinations.

In a news release from March, the Biden administration called on Congress to approve more funding. The U.S. Senate approved a $10 billion package. Now, it’s up to the House.

“With cases rising abroad, scientific and medical experts have been clear that in the next couple of months, there could be increasing cases of COVID-19 here in the U.S as well. As the administration has warned, failure to fund these efforts now will have severe consequences as we will not be equipped to deal with a future surge. Waiting to provide funding once we’re in a surge will be too late,” states the news release.

Dr. Martha Whyte with the Louisiana Department of Health said the state is already preparing for the funding to run out.

“The state is already working to make things more normal the way people receive services for covid. The way they get their vaccine, the way they get a test, they may get their treatment, will be more towards their doctor’s offices,” she said. “Eventually, you won’t see those community-based testing sites. You won’t see the vaccine clinics that we have out and about in the community, especially in rural communities.”

Dr. Whyte said this transition is part of the move from a “pandemic” to an “endemic.”

She said the push for additional funding is coming from the federal level. It would keep certain resources free and help people who may be under or uninsured.

Jordan Scroggs, executive director of the MLK Health Center, says this change makes it more critical for people to have access to routine healthcare.

“Throughout this process, we’ve learned how important it is to take care of your health, the comorbidities that make people more at-risk to serious complications with COVID. We think it’s really important that if you do have comorbidities, if you do have one of those chronic conditions, that you are taking care of yourself,” she said.

If you or someone you know is uninsured or underinsured, click here to see a list of clinics that may be able to help. You can also visit MLK Health, which works with adults who struggle with chronic conditions.

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