Volunteers prepare COVID-19 test swabs in April 2020. Gov. Gavin Newsom's COVID-19 state of emergency first declared in March 2020 will now end almost three years later. Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | Courtesy

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Monday that California’s COVID-19 State of Emergency will end on Feb. 28, 2023 — almost three years after it was first declared in March 2020.

Newsom said in a news release from the Governor’s Office that other safety measures will continue moving forward, but “California is ready to phase out” the State of Emergency.

“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 the news release.

According to the news release, the next four months would give adequate time for agencies to prepare for the phaseout and give healthcare workers time to address potential surges in January or February.

Currently in San Luis Obispo County, community levels of COVID-19 spread remain low as of Monday, with four new hospitalizations.

The state will continue to provide resources such as masks, vaccines and boosters required to fight COVID-19 after the phaseout of the State of Emergency. Newsom said his administration will be evaluating the capacity that nurses and laboratory workers have for COVID-19 treatments and testing. 

“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,” California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in the news release.

In February 2022, the California Department of Public Health released the California SMARTER Plan, which was set to focus on the next stages of work beyond a State of Emergency.

According to the news release, the SMARTER Plan outlines ways the state can “quickly respond to outbreaks.” The plan’s name stands for shots, masks, awareness, readiness, testing, education and Rx, or prescription treatment to fight COVID-19.

“California has always been a state that learns and innovates — it is in our DNA and will guide us moving forward,” the SMARTER Plan reads.

Throughout the pandemic, California has administrated 81 million vaccinations, processed 186 million tests and distributed billions of personal protective equipment units. Additionally, the nation’s largest stimulus programs were passed to support Californians and their hospitals, community organizations and schools.  Among large states, California’s death rate remains the lowest, according to the news release.