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The State of COVID-19 in Pa., U.S.

May 01, 2023

With the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), America is entering a new phase of its pandemic response.

As the PHE’s end approaches on May 11, public health officials continue to monitor the spread of the virus—and a potential new variant—but weekly case counts and hospitalizations are trending in the right direction.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Community spread:  In the U.S., 97.7 percent of counties are at the lowest COVID-19 community level, including all 67 Pennsylvania counties.
  • Pennsylvania hospitalizations:  There are 290 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, including 23 in the intensive care unit and 16 on the ventilators, state figures show.
  • Variant proportions:  The omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 accounts for about 69 percent of U.S. cases. The XBB.1.16 variant accounts for nearly 12 percent of cases. XBB.1.16 has been deemed "one to watch" by the World Health Organization (WHO), but has not been linked with increased severity, WHO leaders said last month.
  • PHE testing changes:  After May 11, provider-ordered COVID-19 lab tests will still be covered by Medicare. Over-the-counter COVID-19 tests will be available for Medicare beneficiaries, but there may be out-of-pocket costs.
    • Coverage will vary for those with private plans, but these insurers won’t be required by federal law to cover over-the-counter and laboratory-based COVID-19 tests after the PHE’s end.
  • Notable:  One in three U.S. households used a test kit from the federal government’s free online program, according to a new CDC report. “These findings support the substantial health value of national programs that address critical health needs during a pandemic response,” the CDC said.

HAP continues to monitor the latest COVID-19 public health developments and provide updates to members. HAP also urges the general public to stay up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines and to monitor the spread of the virus in the community.