COVID-19 2023 Update – Ending of the Public Health Emergency
(Last updated: June 30, 2023)
For the latest COVID-19 guidance, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website
With the nationally declared Public Health Emergency ending on May 11, the Connecticut Department of Public Health has announced the State’s COVID-19 recovery plans and next steps. Please check back here for updates or e-mail any questions to: ASKDPH@ct.gov.
Q: What does the end of the Public Health Emergency on May 11 mean?
A: Earlier this year, President Biden announced that the nationally declared Public Health Emergency, would expire on May 11, 2023. Under U.S. law, the President can declare a national emergency in response to a disaster or crisis. While the emergency declaration is in effect, the executive branch can exercise “emergency powers” to address the crisis, such as providing various types of relief to individuals, and to state and local governments. When the nationally declared emergency ends, those powers are lifted, and policies that the President enacted using emergency powers expire. Governor Ned Lamont’s declaration of a Public Health Emergency under Connecticut law provided that it would end at the same time as the nationally declared Public Health Emergency.
Q: Does this mean that COVID-19 is gone for good?
A: No. Ending the COVID-19 emergency declarations does not mean the virus has been eradicated. We can all stay healthy and live with COVID-19 and other viruses by getting fully vaccinated, staying home when we are sick, and practicing good hygiene. These same successful health prevention tools apply to many infectious diseases. It is why we have made so much progress in the past three years.
Q: What should I do to protect myself from COVID-19?
A: You still should get vaccinated, get the updated vaccine, use at-home tests, stay home when you are sick, and wear a high-quality mask when respiratory viruses are circulating at high levels in your community. These are all ways we can continue to protect ourselves and manage this virus. We hope that COVID-19 will follow the trajectory of other seasonal illnesses and remain ready to ramp up our efforts during respiratory disease season which typically runs from October through April. Please visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for the latest COVID-19 guidance.
Q: Is there updated guidance available for PreK-12 Schools?
A: Yes. Please see this recent document that includes FAQ’s for PreK-12 Schools. This document has been distributed to answer some of the lingering questions DPH and the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) have received in the past several months, and to pivot our reference for COVID-19 guidance in the future to the CDC’s main COVID-19 information page, which can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/covid19.
Q: Are there any updates on the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act?
A: Yes, on May 9, 2023, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra signed the 11th amendment to the declaration under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act for COVID-19 Medical Countermeasures. The Secretary issues this amendment to clarify that COVID-19 continues to pose a credible risk of a future public health emergency, add two new limitations on distribution, extend the time period of coverage for certain Covered Countermeasures and Covered Persons, clarify the time period of coverage for Covered Persons authorized under the Declaration, and extend the duration of the Declaration to December 31, 2024. Read full details of the amendment in the Federal Register Notice online.
Q: What about my HUSKY/CHIP, SNAP or cash benefits?
A: Please visit the Connecticut Department of Social Services’ “Preparing for the End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency webpage.”
Q: What is going to happen to the COVID Alert CT app?
A: The COVID Alert CT app, which was developed for the Apple iPhone and Android platforms, was discontinued on May 11 per the Association of Public Health Laboratories, Apple and Google.
DPH Public Health Emergency Demobilization Plans
- State supported COVID-19 testing at four Community Health Centers ended on June 30, 2023.
- The CDC has developed a tool to search for COVID-19 testing locations: Testing Location | CDC.gov
- For additional COVID-19 testing options, please visit: Community-Based Testing Sites for COVID-19 | HHS.gov
- Self-test kits can be purchased at pharmacies and other retail outlets.
- The DPH mobile van clinic program officially ended on June 30, 2023.
- Connecticut residents who are homebound should contact their health care provider to receive the updated COVID-19 vaccine, just as they do for seasonal influenza vaccine and other preventative health care services.
- The federal government will continue to distribute COVID-19 vaccine to healthcare providers such as retail pharmacies, hospitals, and physician practices. After the Public Health Emergency ends, the federal government will continue to distribute all available vaccines in their inventory, free to U.S. residents, until that inventory is depleted or expires.
- Once the federal government exhausts its inventory of COVID-19 vaccines, they will be made available commercially like other vaccines, such as flu vaccines, through an individual’s private insurance plan; through publicly funded programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the Vaccines for Children program; or directly by consumers.
- Access to treatments such as Paxlovid and Lagevrio will still be available from providers and retail pharmacies.
- DPH will continue to support long-term care facilities in helping to identify and limit any COVID-19 outbreaks. DPH is committed to offering education and training for outbreak control which can affect the state’s most vulnerable citizens
Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC)
- WIC program waivers will end 90 days after the Public Health Emergency ends (Aug. 9, 2023). More updates will follow.
Disease Surveillance and Reporting
- DPH issued its last COVID-19 report for the 2022-23 respiratory viral disease season on the Open Data Portal on June 1, 2023. Additional resources include:
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET), CDC
- Connecticut Data Collaborative Dashboards
- DataHaven Dashboard
- University of Connecticut Department of Geography Dashboard
- Connecticut Conference of Municipalities Dashboard
- Transportation Equity in the Age of COVID-19, CT DOT Govern for America Fellows
- Wastewater surveillance, CDC
- COVID-19 public data reporting will resume on Oct. 5, 2023, and continue through the winter months, as part of DPH’s respiratory surveillance reporting program. This new COVID-19 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.