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By Jeff Mason and Ahmed Aboulenein
Nov 11 (Reuters) - The United States in January will extend the COVID-19 pandemic status as a public health emergency, allowing millions of Americans to keep getting free tests, vaccines and treatments, a Biden administration official said on Friday.
The possibility of a winter surge in COVID cases and the need for more time to transition out of the public health emergency to a private market were two factors that contributed to the decision, the official said.
The public health emergency was initially declared in January 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic began, and has been renewed each quarter since. But the government in August began signaling it planned to let it expire in Jan.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has promised to give states 60 days notice before letting the emergency expire, which would have been on Friday if it did not plan on renewing it again in January. (Reporting by Jeff Mason and Ahmed Aboulenein; editing by Caroline Humer and Bill Berkrot)