California to end COVID-19 state of emergency in February

As part of a planned end to its state of emergency declaration in February, California's Department of Public Health plans to close multiple COVID-19 testing sites in areas where officials have seen demand for the service decrease, a spokesperson confirmed to Becker's.

Sites that are operating at less than 50 percent total capacity will be the ones to close. The CDPH did not directly respond to a question from Becker's about what the total number of closures statewide would be. However, CalMatters reported that the CDPH has confirmed at least 44 sites operated by the healthcare organization OptumServe will close, as will 48 mobile testing sites.

It is a big move for the state, which was the first in the nation to implement stay-at-home orders and the third to declare a state of emergency as a result of COVID-19 in March 2020.

"California has begun to phase-out underutilized state-run COVID-19 testing and treatment sites in the coming weeks. The phase-out comes as COVID-19 activity is decreasing across the state," a spokesperson from the CDPH told Becker's via email. "These sites were an important part of the state's COVID-19 testing strategy and response." 

As of Jan. 23, the state is averaging nearly 4,000 cases and only 42 deaths per day — data that appears to be trending downward — unlike national cases, which have shown hospitalizations falling around 15 percent, yet rising deaths within the same time frame, per The New York Times.

As it inches closer to its timeline of ending the state of emergency next month, the CDPH told Becker's that it is currently solidifying final plans around this effort. 

"A final plan for demobilizing the remaining sites is being prepared," the CDPH spokesperson commented. "Additional details will be shared when available. Californians in need of COVID-19 testing should contact their health care provider."


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