ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – This week on Empire State Weekly, the national COVID-19 public health emergency that had been in place since March 2020 has ended. The change will have impacts on how the state responds to the virus, and how healthcare systems treat those looking for care.

Dr. James McDonald, the Acting Commissioner of Health for the State Department of Health, explained despite the end of the national emergency COVID-19 is “still here” and is going to be a virus that New Yorkers have to “learn to live with.”

He went on to say that free COVID-19 treatments, tests, and vaccinations will continue until the supply runs out. After the free supply runs out there patients looking for care will see prices vary based on insurance.

One notable COVID-era requirement that will remain is the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. Dr. Steven Hanks, the President and CEO of Saint Peter’s Health Partners and Saint Joseph’s, explained that if the vaccine mandate were removed staffing situation would improve.

“… I do believe it would help a little bit. I’m confident that the department is looking at the mandate and I’m also confident they’re aware of the staffing challenges that are facing our hospitals and the sense of crisis that that in and of itself has created,” Hanks said.

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