Hagåtña, Guam – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the federal Public Health Emergency (PHE) declared under the Public Health Service Act for COVID-19 is expected to end on May 11, 2023. Although the PHE is ending, federal support will continue through the proposed HSS Bridge Access Program for COVID-19 Vaccines and Treatments Program. This creates a $1.1 billion public-private partnership to help maintain uninsured individuals’ access to COVID-19 care at their local pharmacies and health centers.
“As we find ourselves in an era of hope and promise, we look back on the challenges of the past three years and the ways in which our island and people showed unprecedented strength,” said Governor Lou Leon Guerrero. “The pandemic disrupted our lives and the life of the world, tested global health systems and economies, and took too many lives too soon. At this historic end, we honor the resilience of our island and reaffirm our commitment to a healthier future for all.”
“This crisis will be remembered for its global impacts, but we must never forget the tireless service of the healthcare workers and health systems that led us forward,” said Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio. “There is a visible recovery happening islandwide in our communities and our economy, with new industries, jobs and opportunities available to all. Today we are stronger than ever, and together we will work to build the prosperity of better days.”
According to HSS, since the peak of the Omicron surge at the end of January 2022:
- Daily COVID-19 reported cases are down 92%
- COVID-19 deaths declined by over 80%
- New COVID-19 hospitalizations are down nearly 80%
“I express my heartfelt thanks to all healthcare workers, first responders, as well as the staff of DPHSS who worked tirelessly to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Department of Public Health and Social Services Director Arthur San Agustin. “Their dedication and hard work saved countless lives and helped end the pandemic.”
View the full HHS announcement here.