LA County to end COVID-19 emergency declaration on Friday
Los Angeles County is set to lift their local COVID-19 emergency declaration at the end of the day Friday.
The turning point in the pandemic comes as cases, hospitalizations and deaths at the hands of coronavirus continue on a downward trend.
"We're really glad to see so many fewer people dying and so many fewer people hospitalized," said Barbara Ferrer, the Director of the Los Angeles Department of Public Health. "We feel so blessed to be in a country where we've had, really, ample supply of the tools that got us here."
The end of the declaration will result in county-run coronavirus testing centers closing down. Though Medi-Cal coverage won't stop on Friday, beneficiaries are also warned to ensure that their case information is up to date as the county's Department of Public Social Services will begin re-evaluating cases to ensure that people are eligible for the program.
"Therefore, it is essential that beneficiaries ensure that the department has their most updated contact information, including names, addresses, telephone numbers and email address," said a statement from DPSS.
Local beneficiaries will receive renewal forms in the mail from DPSS, which officials advise be completed and returned as quickly as possible, with approximately 3.7 million L.A. County residents covered by the expansive program that provides health coverage for those with limited income and resources.
The Department of Health Services will also be closing their COVID-19 PCR testing centers.
"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," said Dr. Christina Ghaly, the Director of the Department of Health Services. "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."
The move comes at a time when there has been a remarkable 94% decrease in request for in-person testing at DHS testing centers over the last nine months, as COVID-19 numbers continue to dwindle on a daily basis.
"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," Dr. Ghaly said.
Free coronavirus testing and vaccines will still be offered by the county.
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