The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Is Officially Over in the U.S.

For the past three years, the U.S. has been in a public health emergency because of COVID-19. It ended today. (Image via NC DPS)

By Leah Sherrell

May 11, 2023

For the past three years, the country has been in a public health emergency, it ends today. That means many people will have to start paying for COVID tests.

For the past three years North Carolina has been in a public health emergency, a national declaration in response to COVID-19. That ends today. 

A lot has happened since we first started hearing about the virus that swept over the world. We saw our healthcare workers work under unimaginable conditions, we were separated from our loved ones and communities during lockdown, some of us were teenagers and now have full-blown careers, and we’ve emerged into what feels like a whole new culture. 

In a press release from the North Carolina Department of Public Health, Secretary Kody H. Kinsley, says these three years “were a testament to the strength, innovation, and resilience of North Carolinians.” 

Since April of 2020, North Carolinians have received 17 million vaccines, a number made possible because of community held events in collaboration with our medical professionals. Thousands more were tested and treated. 

As the emergency ends, North Carolina will continue administer tests, vaccines, and treatment free of charge while supplies last “regardless of insurance or immigration status”.  

Those receiving support from Medicaid, WIC, and Food and Nutrition Services, could also notice changes to their benefits. There is currently a recertification process checking the status of Medicaid recipients and working to minimize health coverage gaps for families and the first changes will take place July 1st. 

When federally purchased vaccines run out, they will be available like other routine vaccinations and will be covered by Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance. There may be an out-of-pocket charge for those without insurance.


  • Leah Sherrell

    Leah Sherrell is a multimedia reporter for Cardinal & Pine. A graduate of UNC-Wilmington, she's a resident of Kernersville with a background in video production and communication. Leah uses many forms of media to explore the multifaceted lifestyles and cultures present in North Carolina.

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