• July 14, 2024

Mid-Michigan health agency struggles after federal COVID-19 emergency 2023

The three-year federal COVID-19 public health emergency has concluded.

While certain pandemic-era safeguards are going out, local health authorities are making sure citizens can still get diagnostic testing and treatment.

The emergency classification required government agencies and health insurers to fund pandemic resource costs. COVID testing, vaccinations, and treatments like Paxlovid were included.

Insurance won’t pay at-home testing after the declaration.

Michigan authorities say immunizations and treatments will continue free as the state holds a federal stockpile.

Ingham County Medical Health Officer Nike Shoyinka says the emergency designation was more a bureaucratic status to ease financial and medical resource sharing.

She adds that broad immunization and past illnesses lowered the necessity for these resources and ended that emergency.

Shoyinka believes it doesn’t imply the epidemic is finished.

Shoyinka said the infection remains. “The only difference here is that now we are not the same place that we were nationally or worldwide when the pandemic began.”

Many pandemic policies will continue after the emergency. With fewer hospitalizations, state officials will issue fewer COVID-19 case counts from hospitals and county health departments.

Emily Smale is a Barry-Eaton District Health Department communication expert. Some community members view the end of the emergency as a positive omen, while others worry they may have to pay for testing and immunizations.

Smale said the state and health department are working to keep those programs free or low-cost.

Smale advises residents with symptoms or exposure to COVID-19 to remain vigilant. The department’s two locations still provide free testing.

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