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Friday, May 12, 2023

LACo: COVID Vaccines, Medications Remain Available as Emergencies End

With federal emergency declarations stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic ending, Los Angeles County health officials reminded residents Thursday that vaccinations remain readily available, along with approved therapeutics and testing kits.

In a statement, the county Department of Public Health noted that COVID-19 “continues to be one of the leading causes of death in Los Angeles County, requiring ongoing efforts to reduce severe illness through readily available vaccinations, testing and treatment.”

Health officials said the federal government will continue to make its supply of the therapeutic medications Paxlovid and Molnupiravir available at no cost regardless of insurance coverage, while state law requires insurance plans to cover the costs of vaccines, testing and Paxlovid through Nov. 11.

“We are grateful that Los Angeles County is in a better place and that emergency declarations are no longer needed,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “I am aware that each day thousands of people throughout Los Angeles County continue to be impacted by COVID-19, whether they need to miss work due to illness, require hospital care, or are experiencing the effects of long COVID.

“Public Health remains committed to work that reduces the chance of transmission and ensures the county remains prepared for the likelihood of periodic changes in transmission. We’re continuing our work to make sure there are no barriers for anyone wishing to access life-saving vaccines, therapeutics and tests, especially for those who are under insured or uninsured.”

For the week ending Wednesday, the county recorded 2,266 new COVID-19 infections, down from 2,533 the previous week. The actual number of cases in the county is believed to be much higher due to people who don’t report the results of at-home tests or don’t test at all.

The county reported a total of 46 virus-related deaths for the week ending Wednesday, down from 51 the previous week. As of Tuesday, a total of 36,291 virus-related deaths have been reported in the county since the pandemic began.

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