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What the end of California’s Covid-19 state of emergency means for Coachella Valley residents

California's Covid-19 state of emergency expires today, nearly three years after Governor Gavin Newsom issued the declaration in the wake of his state's first death from the virus.

So what does this mean for local residents and medical staff that care for them?

"I think it's more symbolic than I think really having a tremendous impact on any individual or any hospital at this point," according to Dr. Alan Williamson, Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer at Eisenhower Health. He added that the virus "is here to stay" as we've reached the endemic stage.

While the state's public health emergency is no longer in place, it doesn't expire at the federal level until May 11, 2023, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

When that happens, there will be changes that affect Medicare recipients. Additionally, reporting of Covid-19 lab results and immunization data to the CDC will also change.

"I think that's why prevention is even more key, because the treatment options, the testing supplies, all of that, may not be free anymore," according to Dr. Gemma Kim, Chair of Family Medicine for Desert Regional Medical Center and Chief Academic Officer for Desert Regional's Residency Program.

Even after the federal public health emergency ends, the California legislature and Governor Newsom passed a bill that mandates most health policies to pay for Covid-19 testing, including for people with Medi-Cal.

However, beginning in November, people could start getting charged for Covid-19 testing and treatments that are not covered by their health insurance policy.

Insured people will continue to receive free Covid-19 vaccinations across the U.S. due to a provision under the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

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Jennifer Franco

Jennifer Franco is the weekend anchor/weekday reporter for KESQ News Channel 3


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