SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KERO) — On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he would be ending the COVID State of Emergency effective on February 28, 2023.
The decision was made as a result of a decline in hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19. The state also cites public health efforts to increase the adoption of vaccines, as well as "other mitigation measures."
The extended timeline gives healthcare systems the time to prepare for the phaseout while at the same time providing flexibility to handle any surges that may arise during the holiday season.
“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been guided by the science and data – moving quickly and strategically to save lives. The State of Emergency was an effective and necessary tool that we utilized to protect our state, and we wouldn’t have gotten to this point without it,” said Governor Newsom in a statement. “With the operational preparedness that we’ve built up and the measures that we’ll continue to employ moving forward, California is ready to phase out this tool.”
The state will continue to employ its SMARTER Plan to guide California's COVID strategy moving forward.
“California’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has prepared us for whatever comes next. As we move into this next phase, the infrastructure and processes we’ve invested in and built up will provide us the tools to manage any ups and downs in the future,” said Secretary of the California Health & Human Services Agency, Dr. Mark Ghaly. “While the threat of this virus is still real, our preparedness and collective work have helped turn this once crisis emergency into a manageable situation.”
To help maintain the state's response capacity, Newsom plans to ask the state legislature to make two statutory changes:
- The continued ability of nurses to dispense COVID-19 therapeutics; and
- The continued ability of laboratory workers to solely process COVID-19 tests.