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Los Angeles’ 3 Year Long Covid State Of Emergency Officially Ends Today

Deadline 3/31/2023 Tom Tapp
a traffic light in front of a sunset © Mega Agency

More than three years after they were instituted, Los Angeles County’s local emergency declarations due to Covid will be lifted at the end of the day today. The move comes six weeks after California quietly ended its own state of emergency and one day after the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers announced that Hollywood’s Covid protocols will expire on May 12.

The declaration allowed Los Angeles to marshal more resources in its fight against the spread of the virus, including sometimes controversial guidelines for personal contact and businesses. 

“As the longest emergency in LA County history draws to a close after 1,122 days, we honor the 36,000 who lost their lives and reflect on the opportunity to serve the public during this challenging time,” reads a tweet posted this morning on the Los Angeles Public Health page.

When the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the L.A. County Department of Public Health declared a county health emergency in March of 2020, the county reported six new cases of Covid, bringing the total to seven countywide. What a difference three years makes.

On Tuesday of this week, L.A. Public Health reported 195 cases over the past 24 hours and 4 related deaths. To date, well over a third of the county’s 10 million residents have had the virus, according to official numbers. The unofficial count is likely much, much higher. To date, the county has registered about 36,000 related deaths.

With the county’s emergency declarations ending, the county Department of Health Services will be closing its PCR testing centers at the end of the day Friday.

“The COVID-19 testing centers were established to provide residents with free and easy access to Covid-19 PCR tests, at the early stages of the pandemic when testing supplies were extremely limited,” Dr. Christina Ghaly, director of the county Department of Health Services, said in a statement.

“Today, Covid tests are widely available. Rapid antigen tests are available at most pharmacies, through primary care providers and urgent care locations, and in a variety of other community locations. Health care providers also have the ability to perform PCR tests for patients when needed.”

Ghaly noted that over the last nine months, there has been a 94% decrease in demand for in-person testing at DHS testing centers.

“While the worst of the pandemic is behind us, we do ask that you continue to take simple and effective preventive measures to mitigate the spread of the virus,” she said.

DHS-operated hospitals and clinics will continue to offer testing for people without insurance.

City News Service contributed to this story.

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