Health officials look beyond the COVID emergency and at what’s next

The COVID-19 emergency declaration ends on Thursday. But, health officials still want people to stay vigilant.
Published: May. 12, 2023 at 2:23 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The COVID-19 emergency declaration ends on Thursday. But that doesn’t mean the virus just magically goes away. In fact, health officials still want people to stay vigilant.

“We have a lot of information now that we didn’t have in 2020,” said Morgan Finke, spokesperson for Public Health Madison & Dane County.

Finke says as the federal emergency declaration comes to an end, it’s important to remember that COVID-19 is here to stay.

“It’s an end of an era of this pandemic but it’s not the end of COVID,” she said.

Finke says the public health department has been scaling back their services. The organization shut down their testing clinics a few weeks ago. “From the beginning our response has shifted to meet the demands and needs of the community and we’ve seen that demand reduce over the past six months to a year.”

But that doesn’t mean PHMDC is done fighting the virus.

“We are still here we are still providing vaccines for folks we know that is something that is a really important tool as we deal with covid and continue to deal with COVID,” said Finke.

Finke says in the future, the virus shouldn’t be compared to the seasonal flu since cases of the flu tend to spike in the colder months.

“But I wouldn’t say that COVID is necessarily the flu -- in the sense of it’s contained to a certain season.”

We may be in a better place now than we were three years ago, but the virus can still be dangerous.

“These changes don’t mean COVID is over or gone, people can end up getting sick or in the hospital, but we do know what works against it.”

The emergency declaration ending also means some access to some funding will come to an end. Public Health Madison & Dane County expects information about a COVID-19 fall booster should come out this summer.

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