Sonoma County has formally declared an end to the local COVID-19 emergency, more than three years and two months after its passage marked the arrival of the global pandemic that upended the world, killing at least 561 Sonoma County residents and more than 1.1 million Americans.
The county passed a pair of emergency proclamations March 4, 2020, one of which declared a public health emergency, and another declaring a general emergency in the county. The emergency public health order was lifted on Feb. 28, the same day the state’s emergency health order expired.
This week’s proclamation, directed at the county Department of Emergency Management, was the last remaining local emergency order related to the pandemic.
“The Board of Supervisors finds that the aforesaid conditions of extreme peril are now deemed not to be beyond the control of the normal protective services, personnel, equipment and facilities within the Sonoma County Operational Area,” the proclamation passed Tuesday said.
“COVID-19 is still in the community, and people still need to get vaccinated and take precautions to avoid getting sick.”Supervisor Chris Coursey
The proclamation was passed 4-0 along with the rest of the board’s consent items, in which the supervisors usually approve several agenda items at once. Supervisor David Rabbitt was absent for Tuesday’s regular meeting.
Board chair Chris Coursey said that, despite the local ordinance expiring, COVID-19 remained impactful for county residents. Seven people died in April from the virus.
“COVID-19 is still in the community, and people still need to get vaccinated and take precautions to avoid getting sick,” Coursey said in a later statement. “But as we learn to live with this virus, we no longer need to treat it as an emergency.”
The federal government ended its state of emergency related to the pandemic on May 11.
COVID-19 vaccines will remain free for anyone who wants one while current stocks from the federal government last. The county maintains a list of health care options still available on its website.
The World Health Organization declared the pandemic was no longer in its emergency phase on May 5.