MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — As the federal COVID-19 public health emergency declaration expires Thursday, the Alabama Department of Public Health will stop reporting on certain COVID-19 metrics.
You’ll no longer find maps showing county transmission levels, vaccine distribution data, case counts or percent positivity.
“Those requirements are dropping, and so the CDC will no longer be able to calculate those,” ADPH’s Dr. Wes Stubblefield said. “And we derive that data from CDC, so those maps will be going away.”
Stubblefield said you will still find data about emergency department visits and hospital admission levels. This comes he said as Alabama is in much better shape with COVID-19 compared to earlier days of the pandemic.
“The number of cases is relatively low, some of the lowest numbers we’ve seen over the course of the pandemic,” Stubblefield said. “Yesterday, for example, we had percent positivity, which is the last day it’ll be reported because we no longer have that data, is 3%, which is very, very low.”
Another change with the end of the declaration: you may have to start paying for COVID-19 tests and will eventually have to pay for the vaccine when the state supply runs out.
“The vaccines and treatments were prepurchased by the federal government and that will continue to be free until those supplies are exhausted or until the vaccine has changed,” Stubblefield said. “There are specific dates for that right now, but it will probably be late summer or early fall.”
Stubblefield said it’s important to remember people are still being hospitalized with the virus, and the best thing you can do to protect yourself is get vaccinated. He said if you have risk factors and get COVID-19 to see a health care provider about treatment options.
Stubblefield said the ADPH will continue to monitor COVID-19 as it does with other respiratory diseases and will respond to any future surges or developments as needed.