NYC Continues to Offer COVID-19 Services Despite End of Pandemic Emergency

By A Correspondent
New York City has deployed mobile COVID testing labs throughout the city. (Pakistan Week photo)
The New York City’s Health Department and NYC Health + Hospitals have announced to continue to offer New Yorkers access to COVID-19 testing, vaccination, and treatment, as well as services to address Long COVID effects. May 11th marked the end of the federal public health emergency declaration for COVID-19.

As of May 2023, the city continues to see new cases of COVID-19, but the number of daily cases remains low compared to previous peaks. The city has lifted many of the restrictions that were in place during the height of the pandemic, but officials continue to urge residents to get vaccinated and take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.

The outbreak in New York City began in late February 2020, when the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in a Manhattan resident who had recently returned from a trip to Iran. Over the next few weeks, the number of cases began to rise rapidly as the virus spread through the city’s densely populated neighborhoods.

“We have come so far together,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “Despite the end of the emergency declaration, COVID-19 is here to stay, and the tools we’ve deployed over the last three years are as important as ever. Vaccination is still available, and it remains the best protection from COVID-19. Masks continue to be useful, especially when transmission is elevated, and testing and treatment will remain readily available throughout our health systems and across key community locations. The city will continue to make sure that residents have access to many of these lifesaving resources as we hope to put the worst of COVID in the rear-view mirror, for good.”

“Over the past three years of New York City’s emergency response to COVID-19, we have been a leader in what cities can do to deliver resources to communities in need and break chains of transmission,” said Ted Long, MD, MHS, Senior Vice President, Ambulatory Care and Population Health at NYC Health + Hospitals and Executive Director of the NYC Test & Treat Corps. “We’ve led the largest testing and contact tracing program in the country. We developed a school testing strategy, which became the national standard, that enabled our children to get a world-class education throughout the pandemic. We launched the nation’s first mobile Test to Treat program to bring immediate access to life-saving treatments to New York’s hardest-hit communities. The pandemic tested us in every way, and I want to acknowledge the lives lost, those forever changed, and the thousands of health care and NYC Test & Treat Corps heroes who stepped up to help in their neighbors’ greatest time of need. I assure New York City that we will not let our guard down as we safely take the next step forward.”

In New York City, free COVID-19 at-home tests will continue to be distributed at over 250 walk-up locations, including all New York City libraries, while supplies last. A list of sites can be found here.

With the end of the emergency, access to at-home tests will become more limited. Insurers are no longer required to cover eight free tests per month and the federal government program to send free at-home test kits will end. Medicaid will continue to cover tests through at least September 2024.


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