New York City’s Commitment To COVID-19 Care And Services Unwavering Even

May 11, 2023

As the Big Apple bids farewell to the federal public health emergency declaration for COVID-19, New Yorkers are bracing themselves for a new era in the fight against the pandemic.

While this might signal changes in how some services are accessed, the city’s Health Department and NYC Health + Hospitals are committed to ensuring the provision of COVID-19 testing, vaccination, and treatment, including services addressing Long COVID. The road ahead might still be daunting, but New York City has come a long way since the beginning of the pandemic.

The city’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Ashwin Vasan, acknowledges that COVID-19 is here to stay and emphasizes the continued importance of the tools that have been deployed to mitigate its impact, such as vaccination, masks, testing, and treatment. According to him, these lifesaving resources will remain available throughout health systems and across key community locations. Indeed, as the city moves forward, it will make sure residents have access to them.

During the pandemic, New York City has set the standard for resource delivery to communities in need and breaking the chains of transmission. 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, credits the city’s COVID-19 response to leadership and cooperation. The largest testing and contact tracing program in the country was developed, school testing strategies were put in place, and the nation’s first mobile Test to Treat program was launched, bringing life-saving treatments to the city’s hardest-hit communities.

Despite the end of the emergency, the city’s commitment to providing access to COVID-19 testing and treatment remains steadfast. New Yorkers can still receive COVID-19 PCR and rapid testing by appointment, regardless of their insurance or immigration status, at NYC Health + Hospitals’ acute facilities and Gotham Health clinics in every borough. For existing patients, scheduling an appointment for testing, treatment, or vaccination is just a phone call away. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 hotline, (212-COVID19), will continue to connect New Yorkers with clinicians who can prescribe free antiviral medications and arrange to have them delivered to their homes or refer them to infusion antiviral treatment.

For New Yorkers who have COVID-19, treatment is essential, especially for those at high risk for severe disease. The main form of treatment is Paxlovid, which is an antiviral pill taken for five days. Oral antiviral pills will remain free while federal supply lasts. Meanwhile, the NYC Vaccine Finder will continue to help New Yorkers find a convenient site to get vaccinated and search for sites based on location, vaccine type, and age group. The finder is available in multiple languages, and NYC Health + Hospitals will continue to provide vaccination at all its acute facilities and Gotham Health sites in every borough, regardless of insurance or immigration status.

As New York City moves forward, addressing Long COVID remains a critical part of the city’s recovery. People recovering from COVID-19 or Long COVID can call 212-COVID-19 to reach NYC Health + Hospitals’ AfterCare program and be connected to its three COVID-19 Centers of Excellence. The three centers offer state-of-the-art short- and long-term care to patients with Long COVID.

Although the pandemic has been a challenge, the resilience and cooperation of New Yorkers have prevailed. As the city looks ahead to the future, it will continue to work tirelessly to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on its residents.

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