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County Public Health Recommends Ending Emergency Declaration

Stanislaus County continues to recover from the Omicron surge, with COVID‐19 cases decreasing. COVID‐19 hospitalizations are also decreasing, easing the strain on area hospitals. While the pandemic is not over, the emergency phase of the pandemic is waning. As such, Stanislaus County Public Health recommends the Board of Supervisors end the declaration of a local health emergency. The board will consider the recommendation on Tuesday. March 8, 2022. Rescinding the declaration of a health emergency does not signify the end of the potential threat posed to our community from COVID‐19. Public health strongly recommends community members to continue following all federal, state, and local recommendations and check with their healthcare provider to assess their risks, and to learn about prevention and treatment options.

At the beginning of the pandemic, not enough was known about the virus, testing and treatments weren’t readily available, and protections needed to be put in place to protect community health and save lives. The declaration of local health emergency enabled Public Health and various city and county departments and the State to respond locally to the pandemic and protect the local health care infrastructure. Employees from various departments and external organizations assisted with logistics, data entry and analytics, vaccine, testing, and treatments, public information, and planning to ensure the response was as effective as possible. These individuals have helped coordinate and staff testing, vaccination and treatment clinics, acquire millions of pieces of PPE and then distribute them to the greater community, and assist with other public health response measures.

Since March 11, 2020, Stanislaus County has seen 118,997 positive cases (16,937 probable case), 1,676 deaths, and 5,025 hospitalized. While the COVID-19 virus is not going away, Public Health will continue to monitor the case rates and other potential areas of concern with the virus and its variants. Public Health will continue to work with hospitals and other healthcare providers, schools and businesses to monitor outbreaks and mitigate their effect on those organizations. Community members now also have wide access to testing, vaccines, and treatments through their health care providers, community clinics, and/or pharmacies.

“Protecting the health of our community and saving lives goes beyond mandates and emergency declarations,” Public Health officials noted in a statement released Friday, March 4. “Stanislaus County Public Health is grateful for all community members and partners who did their part in protecting the public’s health. As many people in the community are at risk for severe illness from the virus, Public Health asks everyone to respect those who continue to wear masks. Public Health encourages community members to consider all layers of protection and healthy choices while moving forward with routine living, working, learning and enjoying one another.”