Impacts the end of the COVID public health emergency will have

Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 11:43 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - In Jan. the Biden administration announced the COVID-19 emergency declaration is coming to an end.

After three years of living through a pandemic, the emergency services that many are now accustomed to, will stop in May.

“Public health will remain dedicated to preventing severe illness and death associated with COVID-19,” Dr. Laurie Forlano, Director of Epidemiology at the Virginia Department of Health said.

Dr. Forlano said there have been some misconceptions regarding what the end of the public health emergency will mean for the public.

She said this doesn’t mean vaccines will be commercialized.

“Vaccines that are recommended by ACIP which is a federal panel, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices they’re considered a preventive health service for most private health insurance plans and they will continue to be fully covered,” she said.

Dr. Forlano said the vaccines are covered under Medicare part B without any cost sharing and that is expected to continue.

“There are some FDA EOAs that cover COVID-19 tests those will not be impacted by the end of the emergency they will continue to provide tests,” she said.

Tests will be distributed in places like long-term care facilities, free clinics, and health centers.

VDH said this might impact the free at-home COVID tests the federal government has provided by mail.

“There will be different coverage for different tests and that will vary by insurance company or medicare and Medicaid,” Dr. Forlano said.

As of now both positive and negative tests are to be reported to the federal government, but that is set to change.

“For Virginia only positive SARS COVID tests will be reportable by labs,” she said.

The COVID public health emergency is set to end on May 11.