No More "Community Levels" of COVID


The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will stop tracking Community Levels of COVID when the federal emergency declaration ends later this week.

The agency rolled out the online tracking and information system in February of 2022 on the heels of the Omicron surge that winter. The goal: to help people get a better understanding of the number of people in the hospital and sick with COVID and the best steps to take to stay healthy.

With the end of the emergency declaration, our data dashboard will also be changing on May 18. You will still be able to find information about hospitalizations and deaths on our data dashboard, but it will no longer include cases or tests, including the “Low”, “Medium”, or “High” category.

Under United States law, the president can declare a state of emergency during a crisis. While that emergency is in effect, the executive branch has “emergency powers” to address the crisis. With the end of the public health emergency on Thursday, May 11, the government no longer has the authority to require labs to report their COVID testing data, which could affect the accuracy of these metrics.

Remember, the end of this tracking and the end of the emergency declaration does not mean that COVID itself is going away. Here’s what it does mean:

  • We will continue providing free COVID vaccines at our clinics and in the community. These vaccines will continue to be free through Public Health, regardless of insurance status.
  • There are still a lot of testing options. You can still order free tests through the Say Yes COVID Home Test Program through the end of May. You can also order free tests through the federal government, delivered via the US Postal Service. We will also be stocking local libraries with free tests throughout the summer. Or, you can buy tests in stores, pharmacies, and online.
  • We know what works to protect against COVID. The CDC continues to recommend that everyone get vaccinated, get the latest booster, use an at-home test if you’re exposed or have symptoms, stay home if you’re sick, and wear a mask when there are a lot of people sick with COVID.

This content is free for use with credit to Public Health Madison & Dane County .

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