Governor Unveils COVID-19 SMARTER Plan

Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday unveiled his Administration’s approach to the next phase of the state’s COVID-19 pandemic response. According to the Newsom Administration, the SMARTER Plan builds on lessons learned over the past two years and the state’s ongoing commitment to equity. The Plan will “ensure California can maintain its focus on communities that continue to be disproportionately impacted and stay prepared to swiftly and effectively respond to emerging COVID-19 variants and changing conditions.”

The SMARTER Plan’s pillars and preparedness components focus on public health measures and strategies the state has used successfully to slow the spread and protect residents. The Plan consists of:

  • Shots – Under the Administration’s plan, California will maintain capacity to administer at least 200,000 vaccines per day on top of existing pharmacy and provider infrastructure.
  • Masks – The Administration acknowledges the continued importance of masks to slow the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses. The state will maintain a stockpile of 75 million high quality masks and the capability to distribute them as needed.
  • Awareness – The Administration’s plan will continue to stay aware of how COVID-19 is spreading and evolving variants, communicate clearly how people can protect themselves, and coordinate our state and local government response. California will maintain capability to promote vaccination, masking, and other mitigation measures in all 58 counties and support engagement with at least 150 community-based organizations.
  • Readiness – The state will maintain resources and supplies to allow quick response to protect public health and keep the health care delivery system well prepared. The state will also maintain wastewater surveillance in all regions and enhance respiratory surveillance in the health care system while continuing to sequence at least 10 percent of positive COVID-19 test specimens. The state will also maintain the ability to add 3,000 clinical staff within 2-3 weeks of need across various health care facility types.
  • Testing – Testing will continue to minimize the spread of COVID-19. California will maintain a commercial and local public health capacity statewide to perform at least 500,000 tests per day, a combination of both PCR and antigen tests.
  • Education – California will continue to keep schools open and children safely in classrooms for in-person instruction. The state will expand school-based vaccination sites supported by the state by 25 percent to increase vaccination as vaccine eligibility expands.
  • Rx – The state will maximize orders for the most clinically effective therapeutic available through federal partnerships, ensuring allocations of effective therapeutics are ordered within 48 hours.

The Newsom Administration indicates they will continue to focus on targeted investments and outreach to tackle COVID-19 health disparities in disproportionately impacted communities. The Plan includes new activities, including a new COVID-19 Assessment and Action Unit to monitor data and frontline conditions in real-time. The plan also builds upon a robust, regionally based wastewater surveillance and whole genome sequencing network to have early and rapid insights into the changing nature of the virus.

Additional information on the Administration’s SMARTER Plan is available here.