New community mapping resources for COVID
Yes, Americans are growing weary of the pandemic; just last week, a headline from Atlantic boldy said “America sets its prime So what? Wave,” and from conversations I hear at my local cigar lounge, that’s the absolute truth. Americans are tired of worrying, tired of hiding and tired of talking about it.
But we also still face COVID-19 in very personal and, at times, very painful ways.
The resources we relied on in 2020 and 2021 – free tests, free vaccines and numerous testing and vaccine sites – echo the silence of the general public. Funding has dwindled and temporary testing sites have closed. With fewer people discussing the pandemic, it has become harder to find the resources we still need as we deal with the now endemic threat, especially if we don’t have primary care physicians on call.
So what do you do when your home COVID test is positive? Or when you need a test but don’t have one?
On Wednesday, March 30, 2022, the White House launched a new website — with very little fanfare — that will help each of us access COVID-related resources within our own communities. (Perhaps the silent launch was an echo of our own growing silence?)
COVID.gov is a one-stop website for finding all of your local COVID-19 resources.
The website, COVID.gov, was built on Esri’s GIS and mapping technology, enabling it to offer a Test-to-Treat locator for each county in the USA. This tool not only identifies local pharmacies and community health centers offering COVID-19 testing, but also provides a prescription from an affiliated healthcare provider to those who test positive, along with the option to have it done. fill in an affiliated pharmacy.
I decided to explore the site, and within seconds of researching my county, I discovered that my area is currently doing well:
I also found a handy COVID toolkit:
I was amazingly reassured to know that if I were to test positive for COVID, I could find treatment facilities within minutes.
If I were a local healthcare provider, I could also turn to the COVID-19 Therapeutics Locator, published by the Office of the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, to find detailed information on available therapies. also recommended for patients. Knowing it’s available to staff at my local clinic is also reassuring!
Esri’s GIS technology has played a vital role in the global response to the pandemic.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Esri technology has played a central role in the pandemic response; it’s used in Johns Hopkins’ COVID-19 World Map, along with thousands of others. Esri’s COVID-19 GIS Hub provides just a glimpse of the many ways GIS has been harnessed in our defense, from tracking and predicting disease to coordinating national and local data.
“A well-managed health system has the right medicines available when and where they are needed. Some may take this for granted. In an ongoing pandemic, however, the need for medicines is multiplied and the challenge of connecting people and providers to available treatments is greater,” said Esri Chief Medical Officer Dr. Este Geraghty, who helped organizations around the world to deploy GIS to fight the pandemic.
“Following the Biden administration’s efforts to ensure the American public has the resources they need to identify and treat the ongoing COVID-19 disease, the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response ( ASPR) used Esri’s Geographic Information System (GIS) technology. to connect drug types and doses to locations across the United States. Whether you’re a healthcare provider or someone concerned about an infection, you’ll be able to access one of ASPR’s apps to find COVID therapies near you. Providers can find the locations and number of available doses of specific COVID-19 medications in the Therapeutic Dispensing Locator app, while individuals can respond quickly when experiencing symptoms with the Test to Treat locator app for find where test sites and medications are relative to their location. This is an excellent example of a useful and transparent national data system that directly responds to the needs of individuals and the health system.
So maybe, just maybe, even if you’re incredibly tired of thinking about COVID, you could take a few seconds to bookmark COVID.gov now…just in case.