AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – In the wake of President Joe Biden’s Monday announcement that the twin national emergencies for addressing the COVID-19 pandemic will end on May 11, the Amarillo Public Health Department has encouraged community members to take advantage of the opportunity to receive free vaccines and boosters before it is too late.

As noted by the APH, the national emergency declarations related to the COVID-19 pandemic allowed major changes in the healthcare system, including the free distribution of vaccines and boosters, testing, and treatments. Further, it featured the expansion of telehealth services, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

However, officials said that the end of the emergency declarations will “have significant impact on the health services provided to fight the pandemic,” and require Americans to start paying for COVID-19 testing and treatments. Other officials, such as those from the World Health Organization, warned that the end of the declarations will not mean the end of the virus’ danger.

“Do not underestimate this virus,” said WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, “It has and will continue to surprise us, and it will continue to kill unless we do more to get health tools to people that need them and to comprehensively tackle misinformation.” 

via the Amarillo Public Health Department

The APH noted that COVID-19 continues to impact people in the community, with 280 new cases reported in the week of Jan. 27 to Feb. 2. Other statistics on the weekly report card included:

  • 7-Day new case average – 40  
  • 7-day positivity rate – 11% 
  • New Covid deaths – 2  
  • Patients hospitalized – 22  
  • Patients in the ICU – 6 
  • Patients on ventilator – 1 

APH officials advised that everyone aged six months and older should stay up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccines, including receiving the latest booster when eligible as a way to help prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death. The booster has also been the best way, said officials, to prevent long COVID-19 with symptoms that could last weeks, months, or longer.

Community members can receive free vaccines and boosters on Mondays through Thursdays with no appointment and the APH, said officials, located at 850 Martin Rd. and at APH mobile clinics. Further information on COVID-19 in the Amarillo area and vaccine locations can be found on the Amarillo Alerts website.

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