The Sonoma County Department of Health Services will be lifting the COVID-19 local public health emergency status after three years of having it in place.
County health officer Dr. Sundari Mase on Thursday announced that the public health emergency will expire on Feb. 28, the same day that Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the state’s public health emergency to end.
The federal COVID-19 public health emergency is slated to expire on May 11.
The county said that COVID-19 cases are “low” compared to the two previous winters, but Mase cautions that the virus is still out there and can still make people sick.
“The variants of COVID-19 in circulation today are not as severe as those of the early days of the pandemic,” Mase said in a statement released by the county. “Armed with widely available vaccines and much more knowledge about the virus, we no longer have to treat COVID-19 as an emergency.”
Sonoma County is also going to close two public vaccination clinics, the Roseland Community Clinic in Santa Rosa on Feb. 25 and the Rohnert Park Community Center clinic on Feb. 28.
The end of the county public health emergency status will also mean that public meetings are no longer recommended to include the option of teleconferencing components, the county said.
According to county numbers, nearly 114,000 people contracted the virus since its inception in 2020, or about 22 percent of the population. Of those, 542 people died from the effects of COVID-19, or less than 1 percent of those who caught it.