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Kansas City's health director fears confusion as federal COVID-19 emergency ends

Annie Spratt
President Biden announced the public health emergency declaration will expire May 11. The end of the declaration means the end of some free benefits such as in-home testing.

The federal COVID-19 public health emergency will end in May, and with it some significant policy changes around health insurance and public benefits. Kansas City's health director shares what's changing and what residents should do before then.

President Biden announced the U.S. will end its COVID-19 public health emergency in May, which means the end of some free treatments, care and social safety net benefits.

Under the health emergency declaration, individuals could access free COVID vaccinations and testing regardless of insurance status, but the end of the declaration means insurance providers could begin billing people in some cases.

"What my biggest concern from the prevention aspect is that people will get sort of confused by all the changes," says Dr. Marvia Jones, director of the Kansas City Health Department.

Jones urges people to get booster vaccinations before the expiration of the public health emergency.

The Kansas City metro is averaging 20-24 COVID hospitalizations a day right now, down from 77 per day a year ago.

Jones joined KCUR's Up To Date to discuss what changes will occur once the public health emergency expires.

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