CLEVELAND (WJW) – The Ohio Department of Health director hosted a press conference about COVID-19 on Thursday.

The press conference was held at 11 a.m., about Thursday marking the formal end of the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency.

ODH Director Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, MBA spoke, along with the Director of the Cleveland Department of Public Health, David Margolius, MD.

According to Vanderhoff, there is still a large, but limited, supply of free COVID tests available to the Ohio community. He also said during the press conference that COVID-19 vaccines will continue to be free.

Vanderhoff said that the end of the public health emergency does not change how Ohio will track and monitor cases in the state. He also said it is important for public health that community members stay up to date with their vaccines.

Margolius said during the conference that it is still important to be cautious if you do have COVID-19. He also mentioned the importance of vaccinations to continue the fight against COVID-19.

According to a press release from the Department of Health and Human Services, based on current COVID-19 trends, the department says the federal Public Health Emergency for COVID-19, declared under Section 319 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act, expires on Thursday.

According to HHS, COVID-19 is no longer the disruptive force it once was. Since January 2021, COVID-19 deaths have declined by 95% and hospitalizations are down nearly 91%.

HHS say many people are still affected by COVID-19, so the response to the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, remains a public health priority.

The HHS says it will continue to protect Americans from the virus by supporting access to COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and tests, including for people without health insurance.

For more about the HHS plan, click here.