SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – With the COVID-19 emergency ending on Thursday, pandemic practices are expected to change on both a national and local level. The expiration of the emergency isn’t likely to make any drastic changes although it will impact access to testing.

After more than three years with a federal public health emergency in place, the pandemic response is now shifting. With the emergency expiration, testing will no longer be free and costs for both PCR and at-home tests will transition to traditional health care coverage.

There will also be adjustments to certain COVID-19 data reporting and surveillance. Locally, the transition isn’t expected to include major changes. AMR Springfield, for example, told 22News though its large-scale testing sites have closed, COVID-precautions are still in place.

“We’re still available, we have all the equipment needed to respond safely,” said Kim D’Angelo, Operations Manager at AMR Springfield.

Generally, access to COVID-19 vaccinations and certain treatments will not be affected by the emergency lifting.

Those who have insurance are required to get vaccines without cost-sharing due to the Affordable Care Act. For those who do not have insurance, the White House says they will still be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine for free all the way through 2024.

Similar to the common cold and flu, COVID-19 is here to stay. The practices we’ve all become accustomed to during the emergency are still recommended moving forward.

“I think in certain situations, masking will still be recommended particularly in areas where it’s not well-ventilated in public settings,” said Baystate Health Dr. Armando Paez.

“It’s still out there. Being safe, washing hands. If you’re not feeling well, stay home, isolate. There’s still testing available if you need it,” said D’Angelo.

No word yet on when or if local hospitals and medical facilities will be lifting mask mandates. 22News will update you when that announcement is made.