While the official COVID-19 public health emergency has ended, the virus hasn’t disappeared.
Some of the special programs put in place during the pandemic have ended, however, and the University of Michigan offers a guide to help Americans understand what’s changed and what hasn’t.
What hasn’t changed is that the virus continues to cause serious illness and death. So it’s important for anyone six months of age or older to stay up to date on vaccination. COVID shots are still free, but check whether the location where you want to get yours is in your insurance network.
If you don’t have insurance, free vaccination should be available at your local health department or other locations.
People aged 65 and older, and those who are immunocompromised, are eligible for a second bivalent booster shot.
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Rapid COVID tests are still available but you may have to pay for them now. Health departments and some clinics may still have some available for free, but major pharmacy chains will sell them.
If you need a PCR test, which provides more accurate results, your insurance may require you to bear part of the cost as a co-pay or as part of your deductible. You may need a doctor’s order to get tested.
If a healthcare provider orders the test and you’re on Medicaid, you may still be able to get the PCR test for free.
You may have to pay the full cost if you want a PCR test before traveling but have no symptoms or exposure.
Call your doctor
The virus is still contagious, so if you have COVID-19 symptoms or test positive, you should still stay away from other people and rest, the university advised. Call your doctor right away to find out if you should take a prescription medicine to treat it.
If you qualify because of age or health conditions, taking Paxlovid can both reduce your symptoms and lower your risk of