By Genoa Barrow | OBSERVER Senior Staff Writer

Blue glove of doctor  holding covid test sample with positive result on white background.
COVID test sample with positive result. Courtesy of istockphoto

Gov. Gavin Newsom has tested positive for COVID-19 for a second time, just weeks after ending California’s COVID state of emergency.

Gov. Newsom is said to have tested positive after a personal trip to Baja California, Mexico. The governor faced backlash back in late 2020 after being seen at a Napa restaurant without a mask at the height of the pandemic when he and other officials were urging residents to avoid similar gatherings.

At the end of February, Gov. Newsom issued a proclamation after announcing the planned action last fall.  “The conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property declared in the State of Emergency proclamation listed below no longer exist,” it reads.

Going forward, a SMARTER Plan will be followed and will “guide the state’s work to support communities across the state.”

The state says it will continue to support COVID-19 vaccines, testing and treatment at community sites. SMARTER – an acronym for shots, masks, awareness, readiness, testing, education and Rx – spells out ways to stay on top of the pandemic.

Officials point to data that shows California’s COVID-19 death rate was among the nation’s lowest and nearly 73% of the state’s population being vaccinated among reasons that support ending the state of emergency.

Sacramento County’s public health department offered information on how the declaration affects local residents.

“The ending of the emergency declaration does not rescind or impact health officer orders or California Department of Public Health orders governing mask usage in certain settings,” the statement cautioned.

“Sacramento County Public Health identified the first case of COVID-19 in Sacramento County three years ago this month. Since then, there have been over 368,000 reported cases of COVID-19 and over 3,700 residents of Sacramento County have died from COVID-19. COVID-19 will not go away on Feb. 28 and residents are urged to continue to take steps to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses,” it continues.

The county already has stopped updating its COVID-19 dashboard with new information. Those who used the online resource to stay up-to-date on the pandemic can use the state public health department’s “Tracking COVID-19 in California” dashboard to access the latest data.

According to Samantha Mott, a county public information officer, some underutilized state-funded testing sites will wind down operations in the coming months. State public health has indicated testing sites will remain open as long as funding is available and they are being utilized. No closure dates have been set.

“The federal COVID-19 emergency will remain in place until May 11, at which point residents can expect additional changes, including how costs associated with COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccination may be covered,” Mott said.