During the pandemic, shelters are having to change the way they do things to prevent the virus from spreading among the vulnerable homeless population. Now, as winter weather moves in, there’s less room at the shelters for those in need — threatening to leave many, literally, out in the cold.
A KHN review found more than 20 states either don’t count or have incomplete data on the use of COVID-19 antigen tests, leaving the public in the dark about the true scope of the pandemic.
Congress has allocated trillions of dollars to ease the coronavirus crisis. A joint KHN and AP investigation finds that many communities with big outbreaks have spent little of that federal money on local public health departments for work such as testing and contact tracing. Others, like Minnesota, were slow to do so. Bureaucracy has bogged things down, politics have crept into the process, and understaffed departments have struggled to take time away from critical needs to navigate the red tape required to justify asking for more money.
The coronavirus has forced drug rehabilitation centers to scale back operations or temporarily close, leaving people who have another potentially deadly disease — addiction — with fewer opportunities for help.
Experts estimate local and state health departments will have to hire 100,000 to 300,000 people as contact tracers to get the economy back on track. Many states are trying hard to hire from the racial and ethnic minority communities hit hardest by the virus.
Under a program enacted in Washington state this spring, workers can get up to $36,500 to help pay for long-term health care and services such as installing grab bars in the shower or respite care for family caregivers.