California Governor Gavin Newsom announced this afternoon that the state’s long-running, Covid-related State of Emergency will end on February 28, 2023. That’s basically three years after it began on March 4, 2020.
“This timeline gives the health care system needed flexibility to handle any potential surge that may occur after the holidays in January and February,” Newsom said in a statement, “in addition to providing state and local partners the time needed to prepare for this phaseout and set themselves up for success afterwards.”
Hospitalizations and deaths and cases are way down from the highs seen during the summer surge and last winter. But the announcement comes as federal and local health officials have signaled some concern about another surge this winter. The federal government just extended its state of emergency in response to the pandemic through January 11, 2023.
“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. “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.”
As the State of Emergency is phased out, Newsom says the state’s “SMARTER Plan” will continue to “guide California’s strategy to best protect people from COVID-19.”
The Administration will be seeking two statutory changes immediately upon the Legislature’s return next month: 1) The continued ability of nurses to dispense Covid therapeutics; and 2) The continued ability of laboratory workers to solely process Covid tests.
“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.”