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Central Coast health officials prepare for the COVID-19 emergency declaration to come to an end

Posted at 10:47 PM, Jan 30, 2023

Most Central Coast residents won’t notice much of a change when the emergency declaration comes to an end on May 11th.

“A lot of this is in the financial realm where the declaration of emergency has allowed different levels of government to contribute varying amounts of funding to some aspects of our response," said Dr. Borenstein, San Luis Obispo County Public Health Officer.

For some, it still causes concern.

“I’m disappointed with that. They need to stop it probably in 2025 or 2026," said Santa Maria resident, Willy Hicks.

Dr. Borenstein told KSBY while the ending of the federal help won’t impact day-to-day operations it can affect patients.

“The difference in financing will be that it will no longer be 100% paid by the government to get your vaccine or to get medicine if you were to get sick," added Borenstein.

The biggest changes will affect the cost of vaccines, treatments, and at-home tests. Pfizer announced in October they are planning to sell the COVID-19 vaccine for $110-$130 per dose after the government stops paying for them.

Hicks said he received both vaccine shots and his booster but says if there’s a price tag associated with the vaccine he doesn't think people will get it.

“They will not get it because I will not get it. If it was $1 or $2, I would get it but if it’s past that I would not get it," explained Hicks.

“We’re still seeing a dozen people in the hospital we’re still seeing several deaths every week in our county," said Borenstein.

Through the help of the American Rescue Plan Act, SLO County Public Health Department will still be able to provide COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, and collect data through 2024.

Changes are happening already in San Luis Obispo County including the end of testing sites in the county.