The federal public health emergency declared in 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end today, and the local disaster emergency declaration made by San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) will also lapse.
“We would like to thank the community for working through the challenging and ever-changing landscape of the pandemic and taking precautions to protect themselves and each other. By pulling together as a community, we all helped save lives,” said Liane Jollon, SJBPH executive director. “I would also like to thank our staff for their incredible dedication to protecting the community throughout the pandemic. It’s been a true honor to see the hard work performed everyday by talented and committed members of our organization.”
SJBPH urges individuals to take advantage of free COVID-19 prevention and testing resources while they are still available. COVID-19 vaccines are currently free to everyone ages 6 months and older. Vaccines will remain free until the government-purchased supply is depleted. Following that, vaccine cost will likely be dependent on insurance coverage and could create a barrier for uninsured or under-insured individuals.
COVID-19 vaccines are available at health care providers, local pharmacies and at SJBPH’s offices in Durango and Pagosa Springs. Visit this link for a complete list of vaccine access points.
SJBPH continues to provide free COVID-19 test kits at both offices. Individuals can take up to two test kits per person. Free masks are also available in SJBPH’s office lobbies in Durango and Pagosa Springs.
According to CDC, “medication to prevent severe COVID-19, such as Paxlovid, will remain available for free while supplies last.” After that, out-of-pocket expenses for certain treatments may change depending on a person’s health care coverage, similar to costs for other medicines. Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) will continue to cover COVID-19 treatments without out-of-pocket expenses. For people without insurance, certain COVID-19 medicines will remain available with no out-of-pocket costs at pharmacies participating in the Department of Health and Human Services’ Bridge Access Program For COVID-19 Vaccines and Treatments.
Continuous enrollment for Medicaid, triggered by the public health emergency, ended on March 31. As a result, normal renewal processes will resume and Medicaid clients will have to be recertified in order to maintain coverage. The recertification packet will be sent to you based on your annual renewal date, so keep an eye out for this important information. If you have any questions, please contact our health coverage guides at SJBPH at 970-335-2028 or at HIL@sjbpublichealth.org.
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