Beginning September 25, households will again be able to order four free tests through COVIDTests.gov. These tests will detect the currently circulating COVID-19 variants. People are encouraged to use the free tests immediately as Americans prepare for travel and gatherings with friends and family throughout the 2023 holiday season.
Free tests are also available in the lobby of the Community & Veteran Services Building, while supplies last.
End of the Federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
The federal COVID-19 public health emergency declaration ended on May 11.
The Minnesota Department of Health is in a better place now to manage COVID-19 because of the availability of things like testing, treatments, and especially vaccines. These tools help us lessen some of the severe impacts from this disease.
For more information:
What the end of the federal public health emergency means for Minnesotans
- COVID-19 tests are no longer required to be covered by private insurance without cost sharing, so people may have to start paying some out-of-pocket costs. Insurance plans are also no longer required to cover eight at-home COVID-19 tests per person, per month.
NOTE: Mille Lacs County will continue to provide free COVID-19 at-home-test kits at the Community and Veterans Services for as long as supplies last.
- Exposure notifications that you may have received on your smartphone will end as funding is stopping at the national level.
- COVID-19 vaccines and medications (e.g., Paxlovid) are still free for everyone.
- At some point, vaccines and COVID-19 medications will have to be purchased by health care providers rather than being provided by the federal government – this is also referred to as “commercialization.” When this happens, costs associated with getting a COVID-19 vaccine or medication will likely be similar to what people will experience for non-COVID-19 vaccines or medications now.
- The state’s COVID-19 telehealth program will remain free for people to access COVID-19 medications
- The Emergency Use Authorizations from the FDA for COVID-19 vaccine products, including tests, vaccines, and treatments, will remain in effect.
COVID-19 can continue to spread in communities.
Like with other respiratory diseases, when people gather, there can be a chance that disease could spread. That is why it is still important for people to take steps to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- If you feel sick – stay home and away from others as much as possible.
- Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
- If you test positive, follow recommendations for what to do If You Are Sick.
- If you are exposed to someone with COVID-19, follow recommendations for what to do if you were a close contact or have exposure to COVID-19.
- Get vaccinated. Make sure you’re up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines.
- If you are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19, talk to your health care provider about any other precautions you should take, and seek out COVID-19 medications right away if you test positive/have symptoms.