President Biden will end the COVID national emergency declaration on May 11, 2023. This means the policies put in place to manage the pandemic will end. This may impact you in the following ways:
COVID vaccination may no longer be free or covered by your health insurance provider.
COVID testing may no longer be free or covered by your health insurance provider.
Health care insurance coverage for COVID treatment will change.
Health care providers may not be able to dispense controlled substances through telemedicine visits.
Continous enrollment in Medicaid will close.
It is important to know that even though the emergency declaration for COVID is ending, the COVID pandemic is not. We continue to see COVID cases in our region, and people are still being hospitalized with COVID. It is important to continue protecting yourself against COVID.
Vaccination is still the best protection, especially when we layer it along with other actions like masking, physical distancing, and handwashing.
The CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccines for everyone age 6 months and older and booster vaccines for everyone five years old and older. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months old and older get a bivalent mRNA booster vaccination after they complete their primary vaccination series or or booster dose. Talk to your local public health department or your healthcare provider about COVID vaccinations for everyone in your family.
To find a place you can get vaccinated, visit VaccineFinder.org and enter your zip code.
The US has a long history of assuring vaccines are safe through the use of specific, detailed, and time-tested protocols. The FDA has taken every precaution to ensure the safety of a COVID-19 vaccine. Before any new vaccine is brought to market, it has been given to thousands of people under stringent monitoring for safety. Sometimes, very rare side effects are recognized only after the vaccine is licensed because they occur so infrequently, but such side effects are very rare and must be weighed against the good the vaccine will do. Millions of COVID-19 vaccinations have been given in the US with very few serious side effects. The FDA and CDC continue to monitor vaccine safety.
Make a plan for how you will protect your family against COVID. It isn't finished with us yet.
Stay home when you don't feel well, if possible in a room to yourself. Monitor your symptoms and ask your doctor or your local public health agency if you should be tested for COVID.
And whether you feel healthy or sick, continue to wash your hands often with soap and water!
The recommendations have changed over time as experts have learned more about the benefit of masking. The latest guidance from CDC says your decision to wear a mask should be based on your own health and the conditions in your community at any given time.
CDC has created a county level map that indicates COVID activity by state and county. Check the map to decide when to wear a mask and other ways to protect yourself from COVID.
Generally, masks are recommended for everyone two years old and older in crowded, indoor settings, regardless of your vaccination status.
To protect yourself and reduce the spread of COVID, keep at least a 6 feet (2 arm lengths) distance from other people. This is the distance droplets can travel when a person without a mask on talks, coughs, or sneezes.
Some people may not look sick, but they can still carry and spread the COVID virus.
Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. Spend more time outdoors. If you must be indoors, try to open windows and doors to bring in fresh air, as much as possible.
The CDC offers specific guidance for physical distancing in settings such as schools and child care facilities.
Regular handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others.
Whether you are at home, at work, traveling, or out in the community, handwashing with soap and water can protect you and your family.
Wash your hands:
When preparing or eating food
When caring for someone who is sick
When treating a wound
After using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or helping a young child use the bathroom
After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
After touching animals, their food or their waste
After touching garbage or trash