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Federal COVID Emergency Ends: What to Know

Thursday marks the end of the federal COVID-19 public health emergency, and while infectious disease experts agree it’s the right time to end that declaration, they also warn that the virus remains a public health threat.

UCSF’s Dr. Peter Chin-Hong says it’s important for people to stay up to date on vaccinations and boosters and to test for COVID if necessary. Coverage of those tools will remain in effect for the next six months.

But there are other changes people should know about:

  • At-home COVID tests may not be covered by insurance
  • Less flexibility with tele-health
  • Some COVID programs like sick leave already have been shut down
  • CDC data collection will change

“This is all going to be a little bit unsettling over time but hopefully not in the short term, immediate level,” Chin-Hong said. “The big take-home point is that people shouldn’t be worried about paying for paxlovid or paying for vaccines at this moment. There’s plenty of drug, there’s plenty of supply, so please stay up to date on your vaccines. And if you get infected and you’re vulnerable, make sure that you know you have access to paxlovid.”

People continue to get sick from COVID, with the new arcturis subvariant making its presence felt in the Bay Area. Infection from the new subvariant quickly rose from 2% in early April to over 12% now, data shows.

Chin-Hong says those who haven’t received the latest booster since it came out should get one, especially people 65 or older and at least 4 months removed from their last booster.

For children 6 years or younger, parents should consult their pediatrician as doses may vary.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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