SAN FRANCISCO — California will end its COVID-19 pandemic state of emergency next year, state officials announced Monday, October 17.
The state of emergency, which was declared on March 4, 2020 and made it easier for state and local governments to coordinate their response to the pandemic, is scheduled to end on February 28, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom said.
According to Newsom’s office, the decision was made in light of the drastic reduction in COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths in recent months and the ability to reduce the spread of the virus through means such as vaccination, testing, pharmaceutical treatments and masking.
“The state of emergency was an effective and necessary tool that we used to protect our state, and we wouldn’t have gotten to this point without it,” Newsom said in a statement. “With the operational readiness we have in place and the measures we will continue to use in the future, California is ready to phase out this tool.”
Since the start of the pandemic, 179,292 cases of COVID-19 and 1,052 deaths have been reported in San Francisco County. Statewide, there have been 10,458,792 cases and 95,604 deaths.
State officials say the lifting of the state of emergency at the end of February will give health care providers flexibility in the event of another winter surge in cases while leaving local health agencies public time to prepare.
With COVID lab testing and therapeutic treatment capacity expected to change once the state of emergency ends, Newsom said he intends to work with the legislature to enact statutory changes that would allow nurses to provide COVID therapies and lab workers to process COVID tests on their own.
State officials have also touted the SMARTER plan — representing injections, masks, outreach, preparedness, testing, education and pharmaceutical treatments, abbreviated to Rx — as the future of the response. to COVID surges.
Newsom and the Secretary of State for Health and Human Services, Dr Mark Ghaly, first announced the SMARTER plan in February.
“California’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has prepared us for all that is to come,” Ghaly said. “As we enter this next phase, the infrastructure and processes we have invested in and built will provide us with the tools to handle the ups and downs in the future.”
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