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Media Contact: Mike Bordogna, County Manager, 970.728.3844, firstname.lastname@example.org]
Grace Franklin, Public Health Director, 970.728.4289, email@example.com
(April 5, 2023) – San Miguel County, CO --- On May 11, the federal government will end its public health emergency, leading to shifts in state and local COVID resources. Locally, ongoing support for COVID vaccines and education will remain in place, though there will be changes to testing resources.
After April 13, the department will end its weekly COVID testing clinic, which offered PCR tests. Rapid at-home test kits will continue to be provided to the public for free by Public Health.
“Over the past six months, we have seen limited interest in standalone clinics for COVID testing,” said Public Health Director Grace Franklin “Folks who are severely sick have been reaching out to their doctors to test for COVID and other illnesses, and Public Health has seen an uptick of interest in at-home testing. We are glad to be able to maintain this access point to care moving forward.”
Staying up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccines continues to help prevent severe disease and death from the disease. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines state that anyone who has not received a COVID-19 vaccine since September 2022, October 2022 for children 6 months to 11 years, are due for a bivalent booster. This week, the FDA began the process to expand eligibility for a second bivalent COVID booster for individuals 65 years and older. This process requires multiple steps of approval and is likely to be authorized in a few weeks. Public Health will continue to host COVID vaccine clinics every Wednesday from 2-4 p.m. Walk-ins welcomed.
Throughout the pandemic, Colorado has prioritized removing barriers to vaccination, making sure that every Coloradan had access to free vaccines without having to show identification, insurance, or proof of medical history. Regardless of the end of the federal emergency, COVID-19 vaccines are considered preventive care through insurance. COVID-19 vaccinations will continue to be cover under certain Medicaid and Medicare plans and private insurance. Colorado is working with federal programs to provide COVID-19 vaccines to uninsured individuals free of cost. Vaccines will continue to be available at no cost at the Public Health Department.
“We are proud of the work that we have done to respond to COVID-19,” said Director Franklin. “We know that there is still much work to be done, but we are confident that we can continue to work with our community to stay safe and healthy.”
CDC Guidelines continue to recommend individuals that are sick to stay home and separate from others as much as possible; wear a high-quality mask if around others; test for COVID-19; and improve ventilation at home, if possible.