May 11 marked the end of the federal public health emergency declaration for COVID-19, which reflects a milestone in the city’s historic pandemic response. While there will be changes to how New Yorkers access some services, the New York City’s Health Department and NYC Health + Hospitals will continue to ensure New Yorkers have access to COVID-19 testing, vaccination, and treatment, as well as services to address Long COVID.
“We have come so far together,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “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.”
“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,” said 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. “We’ve led the largest testing and contact tracing program in the country. We developed a school testing strategy, which became the national standard, that enabled our children to get a world class education throughout the pandemic. We launched the nation’s first mobile Test to Treat program to bring immediate access to life saving treatments to New York’s hardest hit communities. The pandemic tested us in every way, and I want to acknowledge the lives lost, those forever changed, and the thousands of health care and NYC Test & Treat Corps heroes who stepped up to help in their neighbors’ greatest time of need. I assure New York City that we will not let our guard down as we safely take the next step forward.”
COVID-19 Testing Remains 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. A list of sites can be found here.
With the end of the emergency, access to at-home tests will become more limited. Insurers are no longer required to cover eight free tests per month and the federal government program to send free at-home test kits will end. Medicaid will continue to cover tests through at least September 2024.
COVID-19 PCR and rapid testing will continue to be available by appointment, regardless of their 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.
Existing patients can schedule an appointment for testing, treatment or vaccination at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health by calling 1-844-NYC-4NYC.
To learn more about how you can become a patient with NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health and schedule an appointment, please call 1-844-NYC-4NYC.
You can also make an appointment at a Health Department COVID Express testing site here: https://www.nyc.gov/
Treatment for COVID-19 Continues to be a Phone Call Away
The City’s COVID-19 Hotline, (212-COVID19), will continue 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 it delivered to their home that same day or refer them to infusion antiviral treatment.
For New Yorkers who have COVID-19, getting treatment lowers risk of hospitalization and death, especially for those at high risk for severe disease. Paxlovid is the main form of treatment (antiviral pills taken for 5 days). Other treatments are available for people not eligible for Paxlovid. Oral antiviral pills will remain free while federal supply lasts. A Test to Treat locator to find the federally-supported site nearest you is available here.
Vaccines Are Still Free and Your Best Protection From COVID-19
The NYC Vaccine Finder will continue to be maintained so New Yorkers can find a convenient site to get vaccinated and search sites by location, vaccine type and age group. Information is available in multiple languages. In addition, 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 part of regular clinical services.
Vaccines will be free after the public health emergency declaration ends, and will move to the commercial market in the fall.
New York City’s in-home vaccination program for people 65 and older and people who are homebound has ended. People can get vaccinated through their primary care provider or a nearby vaccination site, and people who are homebound may be able to get vaccinated through their regular in-home service provider.
The City Ensures New Yorkers with Long COVID Have the Services to Recover
Addressing Long COVID — a range of symptoms that may develop during or following a COVID-19 infection — is a critical part of our city’s recovery. 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.
NYC Health + Hospitals’ three COVID-19 Centers of Excellence offer state-of-the-art short and long-term follow-up care for Long COVID patients. The centers support New Yorkers who have Long COVID to help them recover. The site has comprehensive primary care services, as well as a range of specialty care including pulmonary care, cardiology care, diagnostic radiology services, mental health services, dental care, optometry care, and examination rooms with negative pressure systems to safely see patients who may have COVID-19.
In addition, a list of Long COVID specialty providers and care clinics in every borough can be found here.
Tracking and Reporting COVID-19 Data
The federal government, New York State, and New York City will continue to provide information on COVID-19 vaccinations, variants, and cases. The city still has many systems in place to track COVID-19 and be prepared if anything changes, including case and hospitalization data, data from emergency room and urgent care facilities, COVID-19 variant testing, wastewater testing, data from other states and countries, and other academic research.
The city will continue to track COVID-19 through case and hospitalization data, syndromic data, COVID-19 variant testing, wastewater testing, data from other states and countries and other academic research.