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Walgreens launches tool to track COVID-19 cases when omicron rises

Walgreens launched a tool to track the spread of coronavirus variants in real time amid the recent rise in infections nationwide.

Walgreens COVID-19 Index, which uses test data from the Aegis Sciences Corporation, can track the spread of the omicron variant within 24 to 48 hours, the company said Wednesday.

The index provides a snapshot of data for the past seven days based on positive test analysis at thousands of Walgreens test sites across the country. The index will be updated regularly, according to the retail pharmacy.

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Walgreens says the data, which currently shows that "more than 95% of all positive cases are presumed to be the omicron variant" underscores the importance of vaccinations and testing.

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The announcement comes just after the Biden administration launched a website for Americans to request free COVID-19 tests at home to curb the spread of the highly contagious virus.

An exterior image of a Walgreens store on January 6, 2022 in Mill Valley, California. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images / Getty Images)

The website, COVIDTests.gov, allows Americans to order four home tests per day. residential address. The range of tests provided by the U.S. Postal Service marks the latest move by President Biden to address criticism of low inventory and long queues for testing during the recent nationwide rise in cases run by the omicron variant.

The Omicron variant now accounts for more than 99% of the new COVID-19 casein in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Dr. Matthew Hardison, senior vice president of laboratory operations at Aegis Sciences Corporation, said that "data on the spread of variants are important to our understanding of viral transmission, and as new variants emerge."

Hardison added that "it will be crucial to continue to track this information quickly to predict which communities are most vulnerable."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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