Governor Ned Lamont today announced that the public health emergency declaration he initially signed on March 10, 2020, in response to the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic will terminate effective May 11, 2023 – the same date that President Joe Biden has directed the related federal public health emergency declaration to expire.
Governor Lamont’s declaration has enabled Connecticut’s executive branch to utilize certain emergency powers to address the crisis and provide more flexibility in a number of health-related areas, while also ensuring that federal resources in response to the pandemic could be delivered to the state. With the expiration of this declaration, the remaining policies enacted under it will also expire, and COVID-19 will be managed by state public health officials on an ongoing basis similar to other respiratory illnesses.
“Ending the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration does not mean that the virus has been eradicated,” Governor Lamont said. “This declaration provided us with the tools needed to develop an immediate, urgent, and frontline response to the initial outbreak, and put in place the structure necessary to ensure the people of our state have the protections needed to respond to it. We have made much progress from where we were three years ago, and the workers in Connecticut’s public health community have gone above and beyond at building a testing infrastructure, a vaccination program, a sophisticated disease reporting network, and a means to distribute therapeutics, PPE, and more than 1.5 million self-testing kits. I continue to urge Connecticut residents to take actions to protect themselves from the spread of COVID-19 and all respiratory viruses – stay home when you’re sick, get vaccinated and boosted to limit your risk of contracting viruses, and listen to the advice of medical experts on ways to stay healthy.”
“Although the public health emergency declaration is ending, residents still should get vaccinated, get the updated vaccine, use at-home tests, stay home when they’re sick, and based on your own medical conditions, consider wearing a high-quality mask when respiratory viruses are circulating at high levels in their community. These are all ways we can continue to protect ourselves and manage this virus,” Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD, said. “We hope that COVID-19 will follow the trajectory of other seasonal illnesses, but we certainly expect to once again ramp up our efforts during respiratory disease season, which typically runs from October through April.”
Connecticut residents can expect the end of the federal and state declarations to have an impact on the following services and programs:
Testing for COVID-19
- Connecticut’s remaining state-supported COVID-19 test sites, which are operating at four community health centers, will end on June 30, 2023.
- The costs of PCR tests for COVID-19 will begin transitioning to traditional health care coverage, similar to the way it is handled for other respiratory illnesses, and covered fully or in part by an individual’s private insurance plan; publicly funded programs such as Medicare and Medicaid; or directly by consumers.
- The costs of at-home, self-test kits for COVID-19 will also transition to traditional health care coverage, in which it is covered fully or in part by a private or public insurance plan, or directly by consumers. For a limited time, the federal government continues to offer the ability of U.S. households to request a shipment of free self-test kits – which can be obtained by filling out a form at covid.gov/tests – however that program is dependent on available supply and is likely to end soon.
Vaccinations for COVID-19
- The costs of receiving COVID-19 vaccines and boosters will begin transitioning to traditional health care coverage, similar to the way these are handled for other types of illnesses, and covered fully or in part by an individual’s private or public insurance plan, or directly by consumers. However, it is anticipated that most private and public insurance plans will continue covering all costs of COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters without a co-pay or cost-share for consumers.
- The federal government plans on distributing all of the remaining COVID-19 vaccines and boosters it currently has in its inventory to vaccine providers (such as retail pharmacies and health care providers), which are then provided to individuals at no cost, until that inventory is depleted or expires.
- The Connecticut Department of Public Health will end its mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinic program on June 30, 2023. Any organization that is interested in hosting a clinic before the program ends must submit a request to the department by June 19, 2023, at ct.gov/coronavirus.
- The Connecticut Department of Public Health will end its homebound COVID-19 vaccination program on June 30, 2023. After this date, COVID-19 vaccines and boosters will be provided to individuals who are homebound similar to the way the seasonal influenza vaccine and other preventative health care services are offered. Individuals who are homebound should contact their health care provider to receive these services.
Therapeutics for COVID-19
- The costs of receiving treatments for COVID-19 such as Paxlovid and Lagevrio will begin transitioning to traditional health care coverage, similar to the costs one may incur for other drugs and treatments, and covered fully or in part by an individual’s private or public insurance plan, or directly by consumers.
Support for long-term care facilities in response to COVID-19
- The Connecticut Department of Public Health will continue to support long-term care facilities in helping to identify any COVID-19 outbreaks. The department is committed to offering education and training for outbreak control to protect the state’s most vulnerable individuals.
Program waivers for the Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC)
- WIC program waivers will end 90 days after the declarations are terminated, which is August 9, 2023. The Connecticut Department of Public Health will soon announce more information on this topic.
Data reports on COVID-19
- The Connecticut Department of Public Health will transition its data reporting on COVID-19 testing, hospitalizations, deaths, and vaccination rates to the same reporting period it uses under its seasonal respiratory surveillance reporting program, which usually begins each year in early October and ends in late May or early June.
- This means that the department will issue its final COVID-19 data report for the 2022-2023 respiratory viral disease season on June 1, 2023. The 2023-2024 reporting period will begin on October 5, 2023, and end in late May or early June of 2024.
- This new COVID-19 data report will include data that are relevant to current COVID-19 disease activity and trends and integrate COVID-19 with viral respiratory surveillance reporting, including influenza.
Ongoing communications related to COVID-19 will continue to be published on the Connecticut Department of Public Health’s website at ct.gov/dph. Additionally, the most up-to-date federal guidance on COVID-19 is available on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at cdc.gov/coronavirus.
This press release was made possible by: