On May 11th, 2023 the National Public Health Emergency (PHE) declaration comes to an end. Over the last year the impact due to Covid-19 has substantially declined, prompting this critical shift in our response to the Covid-19 pandemic. While Covid-19 is not going anywhere, it continues to pose a health risk to certain individuals and will continue to evolve into new and unknown variants, with vaccination and treatment options we can mitigate the risk.
You can read the press release regarding the end of the PHE from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) here or more regarding the national picture from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) here and from Health and Human Services (HHS) here.
What does the end of the PHE mean for Pitkin County?
- Vaccination, Testing and Treatment: Access to vaccines, testing and treatment will now be exclusively available at medical providers just like any other illness. Vaccines and treatments that have already been purchased by the federal government will continue to be available free of charge while supplies last, but individuals will be charged for administration services based on their insurance.
- Medicare and Medicaid Coverage: Treatments and vaccination will continue to be covered past the end of the PHE, please read more from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
- Uninsured Individuals: If individuals are uninsured, please reach out to Pitkin County Health and Human Services for options to access care. You can also read more about immediate Covid-19 testing, vaccine and treatment options by reading here.
- Funding: Wide scale funding was made available in order for local public health departments to be able to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. In Pitkin County this means that with the end of this funding there will no longer be public vaccination clinics or testing centers and that the public health staff specifically dedicated to the Covid-19 response will no longer be available even though Pitkin County Public Health will continue to monitor and respond to Covid-19 in the community.
- Data: The way that data is collected in regards to Covid-19 is changing on the federal level which will change the data made available to Pitkin County Public Health.
- The Pitkin County Public Health Data Dashboard will be sunsetting at the end of June, 2023.
- Data Metrics will also change; individual case counts, percent positivity as well as other specific hospital metrics will no longer be available.
- The cadence of other data, such as genomic and wastewater surveillance will decline but will continue into the future.
Going forward, Covid-19 response will be integrated into standard medical practices and disease response. Pitkin County Public Health is committed to continue to respond to Covid-19 based on best practices and guidelines set by the CDC and CDPHE as well as to be available to the public to help answer any questions regarding these and any future changes in recommendations and guidelines.