CSAC Bulletin Article

Governor Newsom Issues Proclamation Terminating the State’s COVID-19 State of Emergency

March 2, 2023

On Tuesday, February 28, Governor Newsom announced and issued a proclamation terminating the state’s COVID-19 State of Emergency, consistent with what the Governor had previously announced in October 2022.

According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), 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.

The termination occurred nearly three years from the date the state of emergency was initially proclaimed on March 4, 2020. The state of emergency provided for workforce and operational flexibilities, various statutory and regulatory waivers, and liability immunities. According to state officials, the remaining 27 provisions that were in effect through February 28 are no longer in effect and are in addition to the more than 550 provisions from executive orders issued under the state of emergency that have already lapsed. 

To maintain California’s COVID-19 laboratory testing and therapeutics treatment capacity, the Newsom Administration is seeking two statutory changes through urgency legislation, AB 269 (Berman) that will allow 1) the continued ability of entities currently contracted with and approved by CDPH to dispense COVID-19 therapeutics; and 2) the continued ability of specified laboratory workers to solely process COVID-19 tests. AB 269 passed the Assembly last week, passed unanimously off the Senate Floor this morning, and was signed by Acting Governor Eleni Kounalakis this afternoon.

With the termination of the state of emergency, California is no longer in alignment with the federal public health emergency (PHE) timeline, which is scheduled for termination at the end of the day on May 11, 2023. Last month, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra sent a letter to U.S. Governors notifying them that the 90-day renewal of the COVID-19 PHE effective February 11, was planned as the final renewal and for the COVID-19 PHE to end on May 11, 2023. Rather than 60 days’ notice, his notice provided 90 days’ notice before the COVID-19 PHE end date to give states and communities ample time to transition.

On February 23, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released an overview fact sheet entitled “CMS Waivers, Flexibilities, and the Transition Forward from the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency,” to provide information to states on what to expect, and will be scheduling stakeholder calls in the near future to help providers with the transition. For additional resources and guidance broken out by provider type, CMS has information available here.

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