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Health State of Emergency Ended With Little Fanfare

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By Jorge Casuso

March 3, 2023 -- The coronavirus emergency declared by the State, County and City three years ago quietly terminated at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday without any official announcement that a landmark moment had been reached.

None of the three government bodies issued press releases or official statements noting that the most far reaching and longest lasting health emergency of modern times had come to an end.

The day before the emergency, the City of Santa Monica announced a plan for the electrification of exiting buildings; the day after, it announced a police traffic operation.

The County waited until Thursday to make a passing note of the milestone in a press release, while the State posted a link to Governor Gavin Newsom's two paragraph proclamation terminating the state of emergency.

Newsom stated that he had found "that the conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property declared in the State of Emergency proclamation. . . no longer exist."

For the seventh week in a row, the County remained in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Low COVID-19 Community Level.

The seven-day case rate dropped from 69 new cases per 100,000 people the previous week to to 62 last week, while the total of new COVID-19 hospital admissions dipped from 7 to 6.9.

A daily average of 11 residents died with the virus in the County of more than 10 million last week, down from 15 the previous week.

Since the State declared a health emergency on March 4, 2020, there have been a total of 3,708,022 cononavirus cases confirmed in the county and 35,734 virus-related deaths.

Santa Monica, which has a population of some 93,000, has had 26,110 confirmed cases and 295 deaths, according to County data released Friday.

Four days before the state of emergency ended, LA County Health officials issued a press release citing two separate studies showing "a significant number" of people suffered from "long COVID."

"Although fewer Los Angeles County residents are getting severely ill from COVID-19," health officials wrote, "many still feel its lingering effects."

The conditions include "fatigue, chronic coughing, or brain fog, that may last for days, months or even years after initial infection."

Officials recommended that "the best way to prevent long COVID is to avoid getting infected or reinfected."

And they encouraged residents to get a booster, "which has been shown to reduce the likelihood of a severe infection, in turn potentially lowering the risk of developing long COVID."

Despite a continued decrease in cases, hospitalizations and deaths, health officials have been urging more than 4 million residents to get the latest booster shot regardless of their health condition ("County Urges Boosters as COVID Wanes," February 3, 2023).

The push has persisted as the U.K. last month joined other European nations that have tailored bivalent COVID booster shots to those under 50 only if they are at high risk of severe illness.

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