Baltimore City To Continue Providing Free Covid-19 Tests After National Emergency Declaration Expires

Residents wait in line to receive a covid-19 test at the Baltimore Convention Center. Photo by Elvert Barnes via Flickr.

What’s happening?

Baltimore City officials plan to use $80 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to continue providing COVID-19 health services and benefits through 2024 after the federal government ends the national emergency related to covid-19 on May 11, Scott Maucione reports for WYPR. 

What services does the city plan to continue?

Baltimore officials plan to continue providing free covid-19 tests at city libraries, administering free vaccines, setting up clinics for testing, and sending medical professionals to homes to vaccinate residents with mobility issues. The city will also use another $8.4 million grant to boost its health infrastructure, including increasing medical staff, over the next five years. 

“The end of the COVID-19 national public health emergency is a milestone we should all be proud of,” said Baltimore City Health Department Commissioner Letitia Dzirasa. “However, there are still too many vulnerable people among us to let our guard down.”

Residents will still have access to Paxlovid, the antiviral medication that treats covid-19, through Medicare until September 2024. 

Anything else I should know? 

In January, President Joe Biden announced the end of the emergency declaration, which has been in effect since March 2020. About 500 people are still dying from the virus everyday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

You can read more here. 

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