Health - Public Health News

Posted on: May 3, 2023

Several COVID-19 Health Services Ending May 11

The end of the Federal Public Health Emergency Order on May 11 will change how COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccination services are paid for and how much they cost. Costs for these services will become more like coverage for other illnesses where what you pay will vary based on your insurance coverage, Medicare/Medicaid status and how free services can be offered for uninsured people. Whether your insurance is private or public (Medicare/Medicaid), check with your carrier to find out what these costs will be for you in the future. 

For people who don’t have insurance, we are working with state and federal partners to try and continue our free COVID-19 vaccine clinics. We will communicate any updates when we know more about the future of free vaccine clinics. Currently, our free clinics are scheduled through the first week of June. See the full schedule on our website.  The Washington State Department of Health’s (DOH) telehealth and antiviral drug program for uninsured people with COVID-19 will also continue through at least June. Look for more information from DOH on how this program might change. 

Programs and tools that are ending on May 11:

As we look back on the last three years it is clear that the phrase ‘we’re all in the same storm, but not all in the same boat’ is true when we look at health outcomes from COVID-19. Older adults, people with pre-existing health conditions, the unvaccinated, or the immunocompromised are at a much higher risk of serious disease and death than the general population. 

We know much more about the virus than we did when the pandemic first started including risk factors for severe disease and how people can protect themselves. We now have medications, vaccines and high-quality masks that are effective against the virus. We also have much greater individual and population immunity to COVID-19 through vaccination and recovery from prior infection.

It’s important to remember that COVID-19 isn’t gone. Cases of the virus are down, but COVID-19 remains a leading cause of death in the United States, with about 150 daily deaths on average. 

Although COVID-19 continues to have a significant impact on those at the highest risk, we are in a much better place than we were one or two years ago. The virus will continue to evolve and public health systems will continue to monitor and respond to these changes, share the most current information with our communities, and develop recommendations to keep our neighbors and loved ones as safe as possible.

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