Governor Newsom ends California’s COVID-19 state of emergency
By Claire Morales True, Managing Editor
SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a proclamation terminating the state’s COVID-19 State of Emergency, as previously announced in October.
Despite the termination, the state’s SMARTER Plan will maintain California’s operational preparedness to address the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to guide the state’s work to support communities across the state, Newsom said in a statement sent to Philippine News Today.
Meanwhile, Newsom, working to support Californians impacted by severe winter storms, proclaimed a state of emergency to support disaster response and relief in the counties of Amador, Kern, Los Angeles, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Nevada, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Sierra, Sonoma and Tulare.
Additionally, COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and treatment continue to be available at sites within local communities across the state, the governor said.
With recent decisions to end federal, state and local emergency orders related to COVID-19, Los Angeles County residents are reminded to continue taking sensible steps to protect themselves and others against severe illness and help keep hospitalization and death rates low.
During this new phase, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) is committed to ensuring easy access to free lifesaving preventative services, including testing, vaccinations and boosters, and treatment, it said in a statement.
One of the most effective ways to prevent severe illness is to get the updated bivalent booster, which has been shown to offer boosted individuals increased protection against hospitalizations and deaths when compared to individuals who were vaccinated but had not received the updated booster.
For the 30-day period ending Feb. 14, vaccinated people in Los Angeles County who had not received the bivalent booster, formulated to protect against Omicron strains, were 1.5 times more likely to be hospitalized compared to people who has received the updated bivalent booster. When compared to those who had received the bivalent booster, unvaccinated people were five times more likely to be hospitalized.
When looking at COVID-19 deaths based on vaccination status, for the 30-day period ending Feb. 7, unvaccinated Los Angeles County residents were over six times more likely to die compared to people who had received the bivalent booster. People who had been vaccinated against COVID-19, yet not received the updated bivalent booster, were more than 1.5 times more likely to die from a COVID-19 infection than those who were boosted.
For the seventh consecutive week, Los Angeles County remains in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Low COVID-19 Community Level. This includes a 7-day case rate of 62 new cases per 100,000 people, a decrease from the 69 new cases per 100,000 people a week prior. The 7-day total for new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 people is currently 6.9, stable from the 7.0 reported the week before. And the 7-day average of the proportion of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients is 3.8%, similar to the 3.9% the week prior.
To keep the community in the Low COVID-19 Level, residents, workers and businesses are asked to continue to take sensible steps to protect themselves and those most vulnerable. This includes staying up-to-date on vaccines and boosters, testing before gatherings, seeking therapeutics when a COVID-19 infection is confirmed, and staying home when sick.
Find a location to get boosted at VaccinateLACounty.com, VacunateLosAngeles.com (en español). Telehealth services to connect residents to COVID-19 vaccinations, boosters and medication may be accessed by calling 833-540-0473, 8:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.; 7 days a week.
“I would like to extend my deepest sympathies and wishes of comfort to those who have lost a loved one to COVID-19,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.Ed., Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “At Public Health, we are acutely aware that the pandemic is not over and that there are people within our county who continue to feel the hardships of COVID-19 every day. As we enter this new phase, residents of Los Angeles County are reminded that there is no change in their access to lifesaving tools. We will work with federal and state officials in the coming weeks and months to make sure this remains true. Vaccines, therapeutics and testing are the resources that got us to this place where there is less severe illness from COVID, and this is where we hope to stay.”
Newsom highlighted key numbers on the Covid situation as follows:
California’s COVID-19 death rate was among the lowest in the nation.
If California had Texas’ death rate, 27,000 more people would have died here.
If California had Florida’s rate, 56,000 more people would have died here.
Nationally, the COVID-19 death rate was 339 per 100,000, far above California’s rate.
California administered more than 88 million vaccines – translating to nearly 73% of the state’s population being vaccinated.
California’s GDP contracted less and grew faster than the U.S. GDP between 2019 and 2022.
California’s unemployment rate fell nearly twice as fast as other large population states.
California is on track to become the 4th largest economy in the world.
On average, California students experienced less learning loss than the rest of the nation.
California 8th graders had no declines in reading scores.
Nationally, 8th grader reading scores declined 3 points (on the National Assessment of Educational Progress scale).
Meanwhile, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced updates to several state public health officer orders that have guided Californians on how to best protect themselves and their families throughout the pandemic. The updates to the orders related to vaccination, masking, isolation, and quarantine will take effect in the coming days and weeks. Earlier today, Oregon and Washington made similar announcements related to masking.
CDPH reminds Californians that critical tools to fight COVID-19 remain available to everyone at low or no cost. This includes access to COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and treatment.
“We stand before Californians today with a humble message of thanks for taking the hard steps to help manage COVID-19, and with an ongoing commitment to be prepared for what comes next,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragón. “Our communities did a lot of the hard work by getting vaccinated and boosted, staying home and testing when sick, requesting treatments when positive, and masking to slow the spread. With these critical actions, and a lot of patience and persistence, we have now reached a point where we can update some of the COVID-19 guidance to continue to balance prevention and adapting to living with COVID-19.”
CHANGES: CDPH is making the following changes to existing COVID-19 guidance.
- Masking in High-risk and Health Care Settings
Beginning April 3, masks will no longer be required in indoor high-risk and health care settings. This includes health care, long-term care, and correctional facilities as well as homeless, emergency, and warming and cooling centers. This change takes effect on Monday, April 3 to allow local health departments and individual health care facilities to develop and implement plans customized to their needs and local conditions to continue to protect Californians through the end of the winter virus season. CDPH’s recommendations for the use of face masks for individuals remain unchanged. See masking guidance.
- Vaccine Requirements for Health Care Workers
Beginning April 3, with federal rules continuing to ensure that most health care workers remain vaccinated for COVID-19, the state will no longer require vaccination for health care workers including those in adult care, direct care, correctional facilities, and detention centers. This change takes effect on Monday, April 3 to allow local health departments and facilities to develop and implement plans customized to their needs and local conditions to continue to protect Californians through the end of the winter virus season.
- Reduced Isolation Time After Positive COVID-19 Test
Beginning March 13, a COVID-19 positive person may end isolation after five days if they feel well, have improving symptoms, and are fever-free for 24 hours, with less emphasis on testing negative. This change aligns with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations and takes effect on Monday, March 13.
- Disease Control and Prevention Order
The state public health officer order formerly known as Beyond the Blueprint is being updated to align with CDPH’s isolation and quarantine recommendations above and includes an updated definition for a confirmed COVID-19 case. The updated order, which will take effect March 13, provides prevention and mitigation strategies for slowing the spread of COVID-19 in homes, workplaces, and communities.
- Hospital Surge Order
On April 3, CDPH will rescind an order that required hospitals statewide to accept transfer patients from facilities with limited ICU capacity as needed. ICU capacity has not been limited during recent COVID-19 surges after the broad use of vaccines and treatments.
- Vaccine Data Collection
Also being rescinded on April 3 is an order that required providers to ask patients for their email addresses and/or mobile phone numbers when receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. New legislation requires that California healthcare providers who administer vaccines to enter information about patients, including telephone numbers and race and ethnicity.