MILWAUKEE — As of Thursday, COVID is no longer considered a national public health emergency. The Biden-Administration followed through on plans to let the emergency designation expire.

Many businesses and occupations across Wisconsin were altered during the pandemic, including fundamental changes in operations for pharmacies across the state.

Dr. Hashim Zaibak, owner and CEO of Hayat Pharmacy, had a front-row seat to the pharmaceutical evolution during the pandemic.

“As a pharmacist, I’ve never seen a change in our pharmacy field like I saw in the last three years,” said Zaibak. “First, we started offering PCR testing where it used to take three or for days for the result. Then we started offering the vaccine — that was a huge difference. We used to vaccine thousands of thousands of people a day. Then we started the rapid test, and that was a game changer, because you can test yourself and get the results in a few minutes.”

Zaibak said he agrees with the emergency ending, but said people should still be COVID-aware. 

“The virus doesn’t listen to the news,” said Zaibak. “The end of the public health emergency does not make any difference to the virus. It’s still spreading. There are people are still getting COVID.”

He’s noticed a drop in positive cases. A year ago, he was seeing up to 60 a day at his pharmacy. 

“I still see about one to two cases a day,” said Zaibak. “People are coming to test.”

With summer approaching, Zaibak said he’s expecting cases to increase a bit. 

“Not as high as it was two years ago,” said Zaibak. “People still need to be careful. If you have symptoms, test yourself.

Zaibak recommended keeping at home tests just in case. He said they’re available at most pharmacies and some even offer them for free.