- COVID-19 Information Page
COVID-19 Information Page
3/15/23: The Healey-Driscoll Administration announced that the state’s COVID-19 public health emergency will end on May 11, 2023, to align with the end of the federal public health emergency. “Thanks to the hard work of our health care providers and communities, we’ve made important progress in the fight against COVID-19,” said Governor Healey. “We know that we have the tools to manage this virus – vaccines, masking, testing, getting treatments and staying home when sick – and we’ve reached the point where we can update our guidance to reflect where we are now. I’d also like to acknowledge the leadership of Governor Baker and his administration, who saved countless lives by putting these important measures in place in a time of immense crisis.”
“We are fortunate that in Massachusetts, the wide availability of vaccines, tests, effective treatments, and PPE changed the course of a pandemic that brought loss and hardship to so many. Three years on from the start of the pandemic, we are now in a very different place,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Kate Walsh. “While we will continue living with COVID-19, we can now incorporate the tools to manage this virus into our standing response to respiratory illness within our communities and healthcare system.”
The Biden administration plans to end the COVID-19 national emergency declarations on May 11, 2023. Before the declarations expire, the administration will share information about what the policy change will mean for organizations, healthcare providers, individuals, and families. Here is a link to Department of Health and Human Services "roadmap" for transitioning out of the COVID emergency.
Does this mean COVID-19 is over?
Ending the COVID-19 emergency declarations does not mean the virus has been eradicated. States of emergencies are intended to be temporary, and when emergency powers expire, that does not mean that all policies related to COVID-19 end. Continue to consult CDC’s website for guidance as well as guidance from the MA Department of Public Health.
CDC continues to advise that everyone get vaccinated, get the latest booster, use at-home tests if you’ve been exposed or have symptoms, stay home if you’re sick, and wear a high-quality mask when COVID-19 levels are high. These precautions are the best ways we can continue to protect ourselves.
What COVID-19 policies will be affected?
Under the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration, the government has had more flexibility in a number of health-related areas—including fully covering the cost of most COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccines. When the emergency declaration ends, coverage for COVID-19 will become more like coverage for other medical conditions. In the coming weeks, more information will become available about specific changes, some of which might vary by health insurance. You can also review the Kaiser Family Foundation’s summary of policies and provisions related to the COVID-19 national emergencies.as it continues to evolve.
Click here for the latest CDC risk assessment for COVID-19 is based on the Community Level framework. Levels can be Low, Medium, or High and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area. With at-home testing, case counts have become a less reliable metric to determine the threat level of COVID-19 in a community. The CDC Community Level takes hospitalizations and hospital capacity into account, and outlines recommendations for additional precautions as Community Level rises, especially for those who are at high risk or have close friends or family members at high risk for severe COVID-19. The CDC recommends masking when your community risk level is “High” COVID-19.
Click here for CDC's COVID Isolation guidance. With many tools now available for reducing COVID-19 severity, such as availability of vaccine, boosters, and treatment, there is significantly less risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death compared to earlier in the pandemic, CDC has updated its guidance for people who know they have been exposed to COVID-19. This guidance acknowledges that, while COVID-19 is still with us, for a majority of people, COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts their daily lives.
If you were exposed to COVID-19, regardless of your vaccination status: CDC recommends that instead of quarantining, you wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested 5 full days after your last exposure (day 6) for those individuals who wish to discontinue masking.
If you have COVID-19: regardless of vaccination status, you should isolate from others for 5 days. If after 5 days you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication and your symptoms are improving, or you never had symptoms, you may end isolation but should continue masking around others and in public. Anyone experiencing COVID symptoms should stay away from others, seek testing, and contact their healthcare provider. For clinical COVID-19 testing locally, call Outer Cape Health Services, 508-905-2888.
Individuals with moderate illness or severe illness or with a weakened immune system, should isolate through day 10 and consult your doctor before ending isolation.
COVID VACCINE & TREATMENT INFORMATION:
Click here to find vaccine locations.
Click here for COVID treatment information, including Paxlovid.
MA DPH offers free telehealth for COVID-19 treatment with Paxlovid for residents 18+ who test positive for COVID-19 and have symptoms. Treatment must begin as soon as possible after testing positive and within 5 days of symptom onset.
You may be eligible if you have certain medical conditions that put you at higher risk for severe disease, or are over age 65. If you’re eligible for Paxlovid, you’ll be connected with a clinician for a video consultation within 30 minutes. The service is available in four languages.
The State maintains an interactive dashboard that is regularly updated with information on case counts, vaccination records, and hospitalizations. Barnstable County COVID-19 Interactive Dashboard for Case information is an an excellent COVID risk assessment resource.