With the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency expiring, learn what you can do to advance COVID-19 treatment.

After three years of living through a global pandemic which led to millions of deaths, put an insurmountable strain on health care providers and altered our way of life, the COVID-19 public health emergency expires on May 11. While the expiration of the public health emergency signals a lot of changes — ending the use of some waivers for federal health programs, reducing social safety net benefits and limiting coverage for COVID-19 vaccines and tests — it does not signal the end of the COVID-19 virus itself.

Although the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports that daily reported cases of COVID-19 are down 92% and new COVID-19 hospitalizations are down nearly 80%, nurse practitioners (NPs) and other health care professionals will soon have to navigate a very different health care landscape with no reliable COVID-19 data sharing and growing concerns over long COVID’s burden on public health. Read on to learn how you can help improve COVID-19 patient outcomes ahead of these changes with the aid of effective outpatient treatment.

Recognizing the Need for COVID-19 Outpatient Treatment

As COVID-19 becomes more and more normalized and patients begin to seek treatment and care from the comfort of home, it is important to understand the best strategies and principles to treat patients where they are. Ruth Carrico, PhD, DNP, APRN, FNP- C, CIC, FSHEA, FNAP, FAAN, and Wendy Wright, DNP, ANP-BC, FNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, FNAP, know this principle well. In January, Drs. Carrico and Wright hosted a live webinar for the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) concerning COVID-19 management in the non-hospitalized patient. In the presentation, Carrico stated, “Despite the availability of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, outpatient treatments and other complimentary approaches remain an important tool in the fight against COVID-19.”

Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that COVID-19 vaccines are the most effective way to prevent your patients from getting sick and one of the best ways to slow the spread of the virus. However, COVID-19 vaccination is not an end-all cure to stopping the virus. Unfortunately, up-to-date vaccination rates in the U.S. remain low, with only 69% of the total population having completed their primary series vaccinations. As the effectiveness of the primary series and initial boosters wanes against newer variants and over time, the latest booster set becomes more vital than ever — and yet only 16% of the population have reportedly received the latest Bivalent booster dose. With vaccination rates stagnating and other important tools against COVID-19 such as community measures to prevent transmission no longer mandated, how can you and your NP colleagues best combat this virus?

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