SAN DIEGO — It’s been three years and seven days since the COVID-19 emergency health declaration took hold in San Diego County. But now it’s coming to an end on Tuesday.
That means no more mask mandates, school closures, or hospital surge tents for the foreseeable future.
The pandemic as we know it coming to an end.
According to San Diego health officials, 5,768 people died of COVID-19 and just under 1 million people were sick with the virus.
“We would stand at those briefings and take every question. As long as folks had questions, we would provide every data. We shared more data and more forms and more breakdowns than I think any other place did. So I thought that was really important. I think even if the public didn’t completely agree with what we were doing, they appreciated we were doing the best we could,” said Nathan Fetcher a San Diego county supervisor.
Fletcher was the face of the county’s response to the deadly pandemic, giving weekly briefings throughout the lockdowns.
“It was really easy in COVID for there to be criticism of the effort that we were taking, without a recognition of, ‘if you don’t take that effort then what happens?’ Our COVID-19 death rate per person is one-half that (of) the state of Florida. It’s unquestioned that what we did in San Diego County saved lives,” Fletcher said.
COVID-19 cases are still in the community, but the spread is very minimal according to current county statistics and with vaccines deployed to everyone one who wants one, deaths have also plummeted.
“I think we did well getting through an incredibly difficult and hard thing,” Fletcher said.
The end of the local and state health emergency declaration means that local officials would not be able to take short-term measures — like a mask mandate or allocation of emergency funds for coronavirus mitigation — without an approval process, should cases rise again.
Weekly updates from the county on the state of the pandemic will also stop.
The national state of emergency is expected to end May 11.