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COVID-19: Wastewater Surveillance, At-Home Tests Cleared

Andrea Lugo
December 4, 2023

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Nov. 29 unveiled the National Wastewater Surveillance Program, a new wastewater data tracking dashboard.

Wastewater can be used to detect traces of infectious diseases circulating and serve as an early warning that infection levels may be increasing or decreasing.

As of Nov. 25, wastewater viral activity level for COVID-19 is high, and CDC’s COVID Data Tracker reported an increase in hospitalizations related to COVID-19 for the third week in a row.

The agency reports that COVID-19 activity is particularly increasing in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions.

HV.1, the omicron subvariant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, accounts for the majority of COVID-19 cases in the country as of Nov. 25.

Department of Education and ASPR Partner to Distribute COVID-19 Tests

The Department of Education and the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response announced a partnership on Nov. 29 to distribute free COVID-19 tests to schools across the country beginning in early December.

Tests will be available to all traditional and charter local education agencies nationwide and can be distributed at no cost to students, staff, parents, and school communities.

As of Nov. 20, all Americans are once again able to order an additional four at-⁠home COVID-19 tests at no cost at COVIDTests.gov.

FDA Clears First At-Home Antigen Test

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Nov. 9 cleared for marketing the first over-the-counter COVID-19 antigen test.

The Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Home Test, authorized for emergency use in 2021, now is cleared for individuals aged 14 years old or older testing themselves, or adults testing individuals aged two years or older. It is the first at-home test indicated for use in children younger than 18.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic.

Contact Director of Policy Rob Nelb, MPH, at rnelb@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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