Even though San Diego officials voted to end the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic, health experts say the pandemic is far from over.
“While cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are declining, these events are still happening in San Diego County,” County Health Secretary Wilma J. Wooten said in a statement. “Variants of the COVID-19 virus are still widespread in our county.”
As of February 2, San Diego County health officials counted more than 1,800 confirmed cases of COVID-19, nearly 300 hospitalizations related to the disease, and 12 deaths in the last week.
The number of cases is much lower than at the height of the winter outbreak, but officials continue to urge caution.
County data show that XBB and XBB.1.5 variants are ingesting an increasing proportion of COVID-19 strains in regional wastewater. This new mutation, which is a descendant of the Omicron variant, has prompted officials to keep urging residents to look for vaccines, especially bivalent boosters. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already shown that revaccination can provide more protection to individuals who have already received the first series of vaccines.
The San Diego City Council members were adamant.
“We are in this improved state because, overall, San Diegans have contributed to the fight against the pandemic by getting vaccinated and following public health guidelines,” said Mayor Todd Gloria, City Attorney Mara Elliott, and City Council member Marnie Von Wilpert. in a statement last week San Diego’s state of emergency will end at the end of February.
Citing a reduction in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, and that “91% of city employees have been vaccinated,” council members also expressed support for the removal of the city’s mandatory vaccination policy adopted in November 2021. or medically exempt to complete a full course of COVID-19 vaccinations or, until September 2022, weekly testing. Otherwise, employees could be expected to be fired.
“We will continue to treat COVID-19 with the seriousness it requires, but for now we are pleased with the success of our efforts to protect the health and safety of our employees and the public,” the joint statement said.
San Diego City Council members are following California’s lead in suspending participants in COVID-19 emergencies. Last October, Governor Gavin Newsom decided to lift the state of emergency on February 28 this year. The federal government will lift the public health emergency on May 11.
Drop-in clinic addresses and COVID-19 and influenza vaccination appointment information are available on the State’s MyTurn website. RiteAid, CVS, and other large pharmacies can also supply vaccines. More information can be found on the county website.