Today marks a historic moment in New York City’s pandemic response as the federal public health emergency declaration for COVID-19 comes to a close.
While certain changes to access some services may be implemented, the city’s Health Department and NYC Health + Hospitals remain committed to providing COVID-19 testing, vaccination, and treatment, as well as Long COVID services, to ensure New Yorkers receive the care they need.
In reflecting on this momentous occasion, Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan remarked, “We have come so far together. 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.”
Indeed, New York City has been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. According to 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, “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.”
Despite the end of the emergency, COVID-19 testing will remain widely available 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. Additionally, COVID-19 PCR and rapid testing will continue to be available by appointment, regardless of insurance or immigration status, at NYC Health + Hospitals’ 11 acute facilities and Gotham Health clinics in every borough and at Health Department COVID Express sites.
For those who have tested positive for COVID-19, getting treatment is crucial in reducing the risk of hospitalization and death, particularly for those at high risk for severe disease. The City’s COVID-19 Hotline, (212-COVID19), will remain open to provide New Yorkers an immediate connection to a clinician with NYC Health + Hospitals/ExpressCare who can prescribe free antiviral medications and arrange to have them delivered to their home that same day or refer them to infusion antiviral treatment.
Lastly, the City is committed to helping New Yorkers recover from Long COVID. New Yorkers recovering from COVID-19 or Long COVID can continue to be connected to care by calling 212-COVID19 to reach NYC Health + Hospitals’ AfterCare program and be connected to its three COVID-19 Centers of Excellence. Addressing Long COVID is a critical part of New York City’s recovery, and the City is taking proactive measures to ensure New Yorkers have the resources they need to recover fully.
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