This article appeared in The Mining Journal. Read the full story here.
The federal Public Health Emergency regarding COVID-19 recently came to a close, but its effects will linger.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services still will provide updates about changes to data reporting, epidemic orders and the continued availability of COVID-19 testing and vaccines. It also will continue to provide resources to Michiganders to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses, including access to free testing and vaccines.
MDHHS indicated that it will continue supporting free over-the-counter test distribution through the Michigan library program. Tests shipped direct to households via Project Act will be supported until at least June. MDHHS also will support distribution of COVID-19 antigen tests to high-risk settings including long-term care, shelters, jails and schools.
No-cost coverage for testing will continue for Michigan residents with Medicaid through Sept. 30, 2024, although other insurers may require cost-sharing, MDHHS said.
The agency stressed that all currently distributed COVID-19 vaccines are considered federal assets. COVID-19 vaccines will eventually move to the commercial market. However, as the federal supply persists there will be no changes or cost associated with receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. The shift to commercial vaccine is expected to happen this fall.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has indicated that the U.S. is in a better place than at any point in the pandemic, with the implementation of the largest adult vaccination program in U.S. history. Lifesaving treatments had been made widely available, and millions of free tests have been shipped to numerous households.
Since 2021, COVID-19 deaths have declined by 95% and hospitalizations are down nearly 91%, the HHS said.
COVID-19, though, still poses concern, with people continuing to get sick, although not the numbers seen earlier in the pandemic. Many people are particularly vulnerable to the virus, such as seniors, the immunocompromised and people with disabilities.
Basic hygiene still should be practiced, such as frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitizer, and when needed, masks should be worn.
Actually, these practices aren’t a bad idea anyway, with all the other ways of getting sick out there.
Since COVID-19 likely will be around for the foreseeable future, caution should be exercised, although we don’t recommend living in fear and panic.
As with many situations, moderation is the key.