For the media

Local COVID-19 health emergency declaration ends

By The Health News Team | March 8, 2023
People at an outdoor concert

On Tuesday, Feb. 28, the State of California and San Diego County COVID-19 state of emergency declarations came to an end. This comes after nearly three years of a public health response that included the development and rollout of free COVID-19 vaccines, testing and treatments.

The public health emergency declarations allowed local officials to help safeguard the health of residents through spread-prevention measures, such as stay-at-home orders and masking mandates, and reallocate funds toward testing, vaccines, personal protective equipment (PPE), treatments and more. The national COVID-19 emergency declaration will end May 11.

Since the beginning of the state’s health emergency, 81 million vaccinations have been administered, 186 million tests have been processed, and one billion units of PPE have been distributed in California. However, in the same period, the Golden State recorded more than 11 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 100,000 related deaths.

“COVID case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths have dramatically decreased; more people are now vaccinated; and we have grown highly proficient at practicing spread-prevention measures,” says Dr. Abisola Olulade, a board-certified family medicine doctor with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group. “It’s reasonable for county and state officials to say that we’re no longer in an emergency. This essentially means we must now focus on how we will live with COVID in the long term because we know it will be with us for a while.”

Vaccines and preventive measures still recommended

According to the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, the response to the pandemic will continue and COVID-19 vaccinations and treatment will remain widely available throughout San Diego. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local public health experts continue to recommend a bivalent booster for everyone 6 months and older because COVID-19 is still circulating in San Diego and throughout the country.

While most people experience mild to moderate illness, COVID-19 can lead to hospitalization or death for some people, especially those over 65 or with compromised immune systems. Additionally, some people who have had COVID-19 experience long-term health effects.

Known as long COVID, the condition can affect people of all ages and include a wide range of ongoing health problems after the initial infection, even if symptoms were mild or no symptoms were experienced. Talk with your doctor about available treatments if you test positive for COVID-19.

Along with staying up to date with vaccinations, residents are also advised to continue taking additional measures to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. To prevent the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID:

  • Avoid people who are sick.

  • Stay home if you are sick, take a COVID-19 test and monitor your symptoms.

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.

  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Clean and disinfect regularly touched surfaces.

  • Wear a face mask around people who are sick and in crowded, poorly ventilated, indoor settings.

“COVID is still spreading, so it’s important to remain cautious,” Dr. Olulade says. “Get your vaccinations and have masks on hand. You should also work to stay as healthy as possible. Follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, get good sleep, and prioritize reducing stress and staying connected to others.”

Learn more about COVID-19; get the latest health and wellness news, trends and patient stories from Sharp Health News; and subscribe to our weekly newsletter by clicking the "Sign up" link below.

You might also like:

Get the best of Sharp Health News in your inbox

Our weekly email brings you the latest health tips, recipes and stories.