Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, Ohio has reported more than 3.4 million cases of COVID-19 with more than 42,000 deaths.

COLUMBUS, OH – As the declaration of public health emergency due to COVID-19 expires Today in the United States, the Ohio Department of Health provided an update during a press conference.

The update was led by Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, who is the director of the Ohio Department of Public Health, and David Margolius, MD, director of the Cleveland Department of Public Health.

The update arrived less than a week later Last Friday, the World Health Organization said that COVID-19 is no longer considered a global emergency.

“Overall, I do not foresee any immediate or dramatic changes in the Ohio Department of Health’s ability to serve as a resource as a result of this shift. We remain committed to preventing severe disease and death from COVID-19, especially among populations at higher risk,” Vanderhoff said.

The full text of the press conference can be viewed below:

Dr. Vanderhoff noted that over time, people, especially the uninsured or underinsured, may face additional costs when it comes to testing and treatment for COVID-19.

What does it mean to you that the public health emergency is over? Our VERIFY team checks everything you need to know about coverage for COVID tests, vaccines and more HERE.

The most immediate change will be that free COVID-19 tests provided by the federal government will no longer be available. The cost of over-the-counter tests will be determined based on the person’s insurance.

The Ohio Department of Health has reserved a significant number of free COVID tests that they will be rolling out to partners. People on Medicaid will be able to get tested until 2024.

Dr. Margolius urged people who want to get tested for COVID to contact their local health care providers, pharmacies and the health department.

At that time, vaccines will remain free for everyone regardless of a person’s insurance.

Dr. Margolius also provided information on how they plan to support the city of Cleveland when it comes to vaccinations against COVID-19.

“There remains a large supply of federal free-for-all vaccines. Our focus in Cleveland remains on the first dose of the COVID vaccine. We know there are still people out there who have not received any doses of the vaccine. We also know that people make that decision every week, maybe 100-200 every week make the decision to get their first dose in our county.”

Across the state of Ohio, Dr. Margolius believes the pandemic has shown a bright spot in health care.

“I will say that what seemed impossible, we proved possible. In two days, we have established a 24-hour COVID hotline… We know that with the right collaboration, urgency and leadership, anything is possible.”

Editor’s note: The video in the player above was originally published in a previous story about COVID on May 5, 2023.

To date, the state of Ohio has reported more than 3.4 million cases of COVID since the start of the pandemic in 2020 with more than 42,000 deaths.

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