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COVID-19 Public Health Order set to expire; what's next?

KOAT Albuquerque 3/23/2023 Stephanie Muñiz
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The state's COVID-19 Public Health Order is set to expire at the end of the month.

During the pandemic, nearly one million people qualified for Medicaid because of easier requirements.

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Now with the end of the COVID-19 public health order, thousands may be losing their eligibility.

It's the thing we have heard since March 2020.

“If you're sick, stay home. That sort of simple advice that's been true was true before the pandemic continues to be true,” Patrick Allen, the New Mexico Department of Health secretary said.

“We've been ramping down our response really over the last six or nine months as different steps have gone by. And so, you know, we don't have mask requirements anymore,” Allen said.

According to "Be Well New Mexico," nearly 100,000 New Mexicans may lose their eligibility when proof of income requirements resume.

“The federal government will begin winding down the ability to keep people on Medicaid who might not otherwise be able to. And over the course of a period of months, we'll see people roll off of that system,” Allen said.

Allen said NMDOH will continue to track COVID-19 cases, but just like any other virus.

“There's a weekly report we do that combines flu and COVID and RSV all into one report to give you an idea by region that across the state and over time what the rate of infection looks like," Allen said.

Tests and vaccines will continue to be free at least for now.

“For people on Medicaid and people who are insured, they'll mostly continue to be free for people who are uninsured. The supply of federally purchased vaccines will run out sometime in the fall or late in the year,” Allen said.

According to NMDOH, in order to make sure people don't go uninsured they are sending out turquoise envelopes in the mail, with details on the eligibility requirements.

The current COVID-19 Public Health Order is set to expire on March 31.

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