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Newsom to end COVID-19 State of Emergency early next year

The Union staff

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that the state’s COVID-19 State of Emergency will end on Feb. 28, 2023.

The governor’s office said the February date gives the state’s health care system the needed flexibility to handle any potential surge that may occur after the holidays in January and February, in addition to providing state and local partners the time needed to prepare for the phaseout.

Due to hospitalizations and deaths dramatically being reduced as a result of the state’s vaccination and public health efforts, the governor’s office said California has the ability to continue fighting COVID-19 when the State of Emergency ends, including vaccines and boosters, testing, treatments and other mitigation measures like masking and indoor ventilation. The governor’s office pointed to the “SMARTER Plan” as a way to guide the state’s strategy to best protect people from COVID-19.

“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,” Newsom said 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.”

To maintain the state’s COVID-19 laboratory testing and therapeutics treatment capacity, the Newsom administration said it will be seeking two statutory changes immediately upon the Legislature’s return:

– The continued ability of nurses to dispense COVID-19 therapeutics

– The continued ability of laboratory workers to solely process COVID-19 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,” Secretary of the California Health & Human Services Agency Dr. Mark Ghaly said in a statement. “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.”

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