U.S. to end COVID-19 Public Health Emergency in May
STEUBEN COUNTY, N.Y. (WENY) -- On May 11th, 2023, the federal government is expected to formally end the emergency declaration for the COVID-19 pandemic. This comes after three years of different strains, quarantine regulations, vaccines, testing and boosters, and impacting how people live their day-to-day lives.
What will change once the declaration ends?
“That is the one biggest change I would say that people would notice after May 11th is things won’t be free anymore. It is likely the pharmaceuticals will charge individuals for the vaccine,” said Steuben County Public Health Director, Darlene Smith.
Beyond that, Smith said changes should be minor.
“Honestly, our day-to-day life in Steuben County really won’t change all that much once May 11th comes,” said Smith, adding, “I think really not only Steuben County but across the United States, speaking specifically to Steuben I think we are well positioned.”
Since the start of the pandemic, Steuben County has seen 25,719 positive reported cases. A total of 281 people has died. Following May 11th, the CDC will continue to track COVID-19 data after the public health emergency ends.
“We have just over 63% of the Steuben population is vaccinated, at least completing the primary series. So that’s good. You know our hospitalizations have remained low for some time. Thankfully our number of deaths has also been very, very low,” added Smith.
An antiviral medication, Paxlovid, is easily accessible. The data shows the medication reduces the severity of the symptoms of COVID once they begin.
“Our case rate, really our positive case rate has been averaging right around 45 a week,” shared Smith.
Steuben County Public Health department believes the Southern Tier is well positioned for the change.
“We are in a position at this point in the pandemic to manage this ourselves, and with precautions in place, we know what steps to take to protect ourselves and protect others from this virus,” Smith said.
Depending on a person's insurance, coverage for future COVID testing and future vaccines and booster will change depending on your coverage.