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COVID-19: What You Need to Know

updated September 2022

State Department of Health Launches “Long COVID” Website

While most people with COVID-19 get better within a couple of weeks, some continue to have symptoms or develop new ones after their initial recovery.

Click here to visit the Department of Health’s new website on long COVID. The webpage is also available in an audio format. Click below to listen to a frequently asked questions and answers video:

Medicare Authorizes Free COVID-19 Tests

On 4/4/22, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that effective immediately, Medicare recipients can receive up to 8 over-the-counter at-home COVID-19 test kits at no cost. The free test kits had already been available to the rest of the population covered by insurance, except those on Medicare. Remember, some test kits are packaged with more than one in a box.

National pharmacy chains participating in this initiative include Alberstons Companies, Inc., Costco Pharmacy, CVS, Food Lion, Giant Food, The Giant Company, Hannaford Pharmacies, H-E-B Pharmacy, Hy-Vee Pharmacy, Kroger Family of Pharmacies, Rite Aid Corp., Stop & Shop, Walgreens, and Walmart. Other local pharmacies may also be participating, so just check ahead of time. Also, you do not need to be a current customer to receive the kits at a participating pharmacy.

This change in policy by CMS is another example of what RPEA does for you. To see media coverage of RPEA’s action click here.

Second COVID-19 Booster Authorized

Following the lead of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Governor Kathy Hochul announced in early April the availability of a second Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 booster for all adults over the age of 50. You are eligible to receive the second booster at least 4 months after your first booster. The CDC reported that a second booster will prolong the vaccine’s durability, therefore maximizing your protection from the virus.

There is no charge to receive the second booster. Like prior vaccinations, be prepared to stay 20-30 minutes to be “monitored” prior to departure from the facility. In addition to those of us over 50, the second booster was also authorized for others who are considered moderately to severely immunocompromised.

New York State Department of Health:

For a list of state-run vaccination locations, and to make an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine, visit the New York State Department of Health (DOH) website: am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov

For a list of appointments available at all other sites that are not state-run, visit: www.vaccines.gov/search

DOH is offering preventative information and daily updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, including restrictions and guidelines, which are available on their website at: coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home.

For the latest COVID-19 numbers by county, including total positive cases, percent positivity, and total number of people tested, visit the NYS DOH COVID-19 Tracker and click on your county: covid19tracker.health.ny.gov

To find a COVID-19 test site near you, visit: coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Visit the CDC online to find additional information on the vaccine, COVID-19 variants, and what it means to be fully vaccinated: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

The CDC continues to urge everyone to use preventative, daily routines that will help keep you and your loved ones healthy:

  • Clean your hands often.
  • Avoid close contact (keep socially distant, stay 6 feet apart).
  • Wear a mask in public settings and anywhere you are around other people.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with the inside of your elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces daily.

Visit the CDC for more information: www.cdc.gov/COVID19

New York State Office for Aging:

The Office of Aging offers a free “CV19 CheckUp” online that is confidential and easy to use.

It takes just 5-10 minutes to answer some questions and immediately receive a custom report on how likely you are to get or spread COVID-19, based on your life and habits. Find out how severe it might be if you get sick, steps to reduce your risks, and ways to have your needs met during the pandemic.

Your report will provide guidance from leading experts and organizations based on research, science, and recommendations published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. To find out more, visit: newyork.cv19checkup.org

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