From masks to Title 42, a fast checklist of the COVID insurance policies altering in the present day
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A number of issues started altering early this morning when the clock struck 12:01 a.m. At each the federal and state stage in Massachusetts, the COVID public well being emergencies expire in the present day. They usually’re not simply authorities declarations on a bit of paper; as WBUR’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey reportsthe expirations include a slate of coverage modifications with instantly seen, real-world implications.
Right here’s a fast abstract:
Masks: You’ll now not be required to put on a masks at your subsequent hospital go to or dentist appointment, resulting from the end of the face covering mandate for health care settings. Hospitals are free to require masks, however most programs plan to chill out their insurance policies.
- One new masks rule: well being care services should inventory masks that sufferers, guests and workers can entry if they need.
Vaccination mandates: State authorities staff will no longer be required to be vaccinated against COVID. Boston can also be dropping its vaccination mandate for city workers. (The White Home’s vaccine mandate for federal staff is being lifted, too.)
Checks: Massachusetts’ greatest well being insurers will stop covering free at-home COVID tests — that means you’ll pay out of pocket (about $24 per two-pack) except your physician orders them.
Monitoring: The CDC will stop regularly reporting on national COVID casesshifting its focus to hospitalization knowledge. For now, Massachusetts isn’t making any modifications to its weekly reporting of COVID instances and testing. However the state’s new public well being commissioner, Dr. Robbie Goldstein, instructed reporters this week that he expects there might be modifications within the coming weeks and months.
What stays the identical: You should still be able to get the COVID vaccine for free through your insuranceresulting from Inexpensive Care Act guidelines. And even in the event you don’t have insurance coverage, vaccines and coverings like Paxlovid ought to stay free by at the least 2024.
- Docs can even nonetheless be allowed to prescribe managed substances utilizing telehealth — at least until November.
Now what? Goldstein’s advice for the typical particular person — “what I inform my mother” — is to remain updated in your COVID vaccine. For older and immunocompromised adults, that may mean it’s time for your second (if not first) bivalent booster shot.
What if … ? Goldstein expects the virus that causes COVID-19 to stay with us “for a while,” altering and mutating — and public well being leaders say they’re prepared to reply if charges rebound from their current low levels. For instance, hospitals want a plan for when to reinstate masks mandates if there’s a spike. “We now have discovered an incredible quantity, and we’re going to proceed to use these classes to all public well being emergencies,” he mentioned.
One other pandemic-related coverage that ends in the present day: Title 42. The Trump-era coverage allowed immigration officials to quickly expel and deny entry to asylum-seekers at the border on public well being grounds.
- Whereas asylum-seekers nonetheless face robust restrictions, NPR reports that mainly everybody on the border expects an inflow of migrants within the wake of Title 42’s expiration.
- Mayor Michelle Wu’s workplace is asking on the federal authorities to offer extra work permits to asylum-seekers and extra funding for community-centered help providers. “We are going to proceed to observe the state of affairs and are able to be a powerful companion to the state because it leads on this disaster,” a metropolis spokesperson mentioned.
- Zoom out: Massachusetts saw more than 2,000 migrants arrive last summerprimarily from Haiti and South America.
College buses are again on the streets in Marlborough this morning. After a three-day strike that pressured dad and mom to scramble this week, drivers have agreed to a brand new contract with town’s bus firm.
Somerville is relaunching a program providing some residents free taxi rides to grocery shops, meals pantries and medical appointments.
- This system will ship residents with restricted earnings 12 vouchers — usable by Oct. 31, 2024 — as much as each three months.
- Dwell in Somerville? See in the event you’re eligible here.
Calling all aspiring guinea pig house owners: The MSPCA and Northeast Animal Shelter are waiving adoption charges for guinea pigs in the present day by Sunday, after lately taking in 45 pet rodents from a Suffolk County residence. (Based on the MSPCA, the house owners thought all their guinea pigs had been the identical intercourse, after which, nicely … infants!)
- With their very own cages now filling up, the animal rescue teams are providing fee-free guinea pigs (a financial savings of $30) at their branches in Boston, Methuen, Centerville and Salem. Be taught extra here.
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