December 18, 2020 Edition

Happy Holidays from CHEAC!

CHEAC Staff wishes all a very happy holidays and a happy new year! The CHEAC Weekly Update will take a brief hiatus during the next two weeks and will resume publication during the week of January 4, 2021.

CHEAC Welcomes New Legislative Assistant Karla Ambriz

This week, CHEAC welcomed a new staff person, Legislative Assistant Karla Ambriz. Karla received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis in June 2020, as well as completed an internship with Health Access California. Karla will play a key role in supporting CHEAC’s legislative advocacy efforts and internal organization operations. Her email address is

Please join us in welcoming Karla to our CHEAC Staff!

Pfizer Vaccine Arrives in California, Moderna Vaccine Secures EUA

Following the issuance of an emergency use authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) late last week, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has begun arriving at dispensing points nationwide, including in California. Over the past weekend, the Western States Scientific Review Workgroup confirmed the Pfizer vaccine is safe and efficacious for distribution in California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

Late today, the FDA similarly issued an EUA for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine following a recommendation by the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) on Thursday. The VRBPAC, on a 20-0 vote with one abstention, advised the FDA to issue an EUA, the second such authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Western States Scientific Review Workgroup is expected to review safety and effectiveness data from the Moderna clinical trial within days, clearing the way for the administration of the Moderna vaccine in California. Nationwide distribution of the Moderna vaccine is anticipated to begin over the coming days.

FDA Issues EUA for At-Home COVID-19 Test

This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for an at-home COVID-19 test, available to individuals without a prescription. The at-home test, Ellume, can be used by individuals ages 16 and older and children over the age of two if administered by an adult. The tests are rapid antigen tests, using a medium-length nasal swab to collect samples.

The test correctly identified 100 percent of negative samples and 96 percent of positive samples from symptomatic individuals. Among asymptomatic individuals, the test confirmed 91 percent of positive samples and 96 percent of negative samples. The test is expected to be widely available beginning in January. Additional information on the EUA is available here.

Newsom Launches “Vaccinate All 58” Campaign for COVID-19 Vaccines

Upon arrival of the state’s first COVID-19 vaccine shipments, Governor Gavin Newsom launched the “Vaccinate All 58” campaign for safe, fair, and equitable vaccine distribution in all 58 California counties. As part of the “Vaccinate All 58” campaign, various communications tools and resources have been made available to jurisdictions statewide.

The full press announcement from the Governor’s Office is available here.

Amid Record COVID-19 Cases, Legislature Delays Return to Sacramento

Amid an unprecedented increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations statewide, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon today announced the Legislature will delay its return to Sacramento by one week. Originally set to begin the legislative session on January 4, 2021, the Legislature will now convene in Sacramento on January 11, 2021.

Notably, numerous cases have been reported amongst State Capitol staff over the past two weeks. Legislative leaders and staff continue to monitor pandemic conditions and “will assess and adjust protocols as conditions warrant.” CHEAC will continue to keep members apprised of developments as the beginning of the legislative session nears.

Senate, Assembly Leaders Announce Committee Membership for Upcoming Legislative Session

Within the past week, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced appointments to legislative and budget committees for the 2021-22 Legislative Session. Of note, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon formed the Committee on Emergency Management which will be chaired by Assembly Member Freddie Rodriguez.

Below, we highlight committees of interest to CHEAC Members:

Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Committee

Senator Nancy Skinner, Chair

Senator Jim Nielsen, Vice Chair

Senator Anna Caballero

Senator Dave Cortese

Senator Brian Dahle

Senator Maria Elena Durazo

Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman

Senator John Laird

Senator Mike McGuire

Senator Melissa Melendez

Senator Dave Min

Senator Josh Newman

Senator Rosilicie Ochoa-Bogh

Senator Richard Pan

Senator Henry Stern

Senator Bob Wieckowski

Senator Scott Wilk

One Vacancy

Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 3 on Health and Human Services

Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman, Chair

Senator Melissa Melendez

Senator Richard Pan

Senate Health Committee

Senator Richard Pan, Chair

Senator Melissa Melendez, Vice Chair

Senator Lena Gonzalez

Senator Shannon Grove

Senator Melissa Hurtado

Senator Connie Leyva

Senator Monique Limón

Senator Richard Roth

Senator Susan Rubio

Senator Scott Wiener

Senate Special Committee on Pandemic Emergency Response

Senator Josh Newman, Chair

Senator Patricia Bates, Vice Chair

Senator Lena Gonzalez

Senator Monique Limón

Senator Mike McGuire

Senator Richard Pan

Senator Richard Roth

Assembly Budget Committee

Assembly Member Phil Ting, Chair

Assembly Member Vince Fong, Vice Chair

Assembly Member Joaquin Arambula

Assembly Member Steve Bennett

Assembly Member Richard Bloom

Assembly Member Wendy Carrillo

Assembly Member David Chiu

Assembly Member Jim Cooper

Assembly Member Jim Frazier

Assembly Member James Gallagher

Assembly Member Cristina Garcia

Assembly Member Reginald Jones-Sawyer

Assembly Member Kevin Kiley

Assembly Member Tom Lackey

Assembly Member Alex Lee

Assembly Member Devon Mathis

Assembly Member Kevin McCarty

Assembly Member Jose Medina

Assembly Member Kevin Mullin

Assembly Member Adrin Nazarian

Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell

Assembly Member Jim Patterson

Assembly Member James Ramos

Assembly Member Eloise Reyes

Assembly Member Luz Rivas

Assembly Member Blanca Rubio

Assembly Member Thurston “Smitty” Smith

Assembly Member Mark Stone

Assembly Member Suzette Valladares

Assembly Member Shirley Weber

Assembly Member Jim Wood

Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services

Assembly Member Joaquin Arambula, Chair

Assembly Member Jim Frazier

Assembly Member Devon Mathis

Assembly Member Jim Patterson

Assembly Member James Ramos

Assembly Member Blanca Rubio

Assembly Member Jim Wood

Assembly MemberPhil Ting, Democratic Alternate

Assembly Member Vince Fong, Republican Alternative

Assembly Health Committee

Assembly Member Jim Wood, Chair

Assembly Member Chad Mayes, Vice Chair

Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry

Assembly Member Frank Bigelow

Assembly Member Rob Bonta

Assembly Member Autumn Burke

Assembly Member Wendy Carrillo

Assembly Member Health Flora

Assembly Member Brian Maienschein

Assembly Member Kevin McCarty

Assembly Member Adrin Nazarian

Assembly Member Luz Rivas

Assembly Member Freddie Rodriguez

Assembly Member Miguel Santiago

Assembly Member Marie Waldron

The full listing of Senate Committee appointments is available here. The full listing of Assembly Committee appointments is available here.

CDPH Launches “Mothers” Campaign Urging Residents to Stay Home for the Holidays

This week, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) launched a new public awareness campaign entitled “Mothers,” featuring real California mothers urging residents to stay at home this holiday season. The mothers featured in the campaign advocate that the best way to protect yourself and others is to stay home, wear a mask, wash your hands, and physically distance from one another.

The campaign will run statewide in English and Spanish throughout December, with additional ads through January. Campaign components include TV, radio, social media, and digital platform spots. The campaign will additionally feature an equity focus as Californians from ethnic and racial minorities are at an increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19.

The full press release from CDPH is available here.

Newsom Signs Executive Order to Support COVID-19 Response

On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-84-20addressing an array of issues in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The order extends the availability of housing for migrant agricultural workers, provides a 90-day extension on tax returns and tax payments for small businesses. Notably, the order updates Cal/OSHA requirements related to quarantine guidelines to align with new guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

Project Roomkey Secures Continued FEMA Reimbursement

Late today, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized reimbursement for non-congregate shelter, including for Project Roomkey, through the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The state will now no longer be required to submit requests every 30 days to reauthorize reimbursement for providing non-congregate shelter to residents.

The full announcement from the Governor’s Office is available here.

Medi-Cal Children’s Advisory Board Accepting Applications for Public Health Vacancy

The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is currently accepting applications for a county public health provider representative vacancy on the Medi-Cal Children’s Health Advisory Panel (MCHAP). This panel advises DHCS on policy and operational issues that affect children in Medi-Cal. The Panel is a 15-member advisory body whose members are recognized stakeholders/experts in their fields, practicing and/or certified medical professionals, advocates who represent the interest of children’s health, as well as parent members who provide feedback on topics that impact children in Medi-Cal.

Meetings occur at least quarterly in Sacramento with the state covering the cost for travel for members who live elsewhere in California. Currently, MCHAP is meeting virtually given the pandemic.

If you are interested in applying, please submit your Statement of Interest and resume to  by Friday, January 8, 2021.

Drug Overdose Deaths Reach Record Level During COVID-19 Pandemic, CDC Issues Health Advisory

According to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdose deaths have reached record-high levels in the United States. Over 81,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the U.S. in the 12 months ending in May 2020, representing the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded. While overdose deaths were already increasing in the months prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest numbers suggest an acceleration of overdose deaths during the pandemic.

Synthetic opioids, primarily illicitly manufactured fentanyl, appear to be the primary driver of the increases in overdose deaths, increasing 38.4 percent from the 12-month period leading up to June 2019 compared with the 12-month period leading up to May 2020. During this period, 37 out of the 38 U.S. jurisdictions with available synthetic opioid data reported increases in synthetic opioid-involved overdose deaths and 10 western states reported over a 98 percent increase in synthetic opioid-involved deaths. Overdose deaths involving cocaine also increased by 26.5 percent, and overdose deaths involving psychostimulants, such as methamphetamine, increased by 34.8 percent.

According to the CDC, measures taken at the national, state, and local level to address the COVID-19 pandemic may have had unintended consequences for substance use and overdose. The CDC continues working with states, territories, tribes, and counties across the country to continue drug overdose surveillance and prevention efforts, including assessing overdose data to understand trends and identifying strategies to inform public health action during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A CDC Health Advisory on the increase in fatal drug overdoses is available here. A press release from the CDC is available here.

CDC Finds Youth Tobacco Use Declined in 2020, Remains at 4.5 Million Users

Yesterday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), released a report finding that current tobacco product use declined among U.S. middle and high school students from 2019 to 2020, largely driven by decreases in e-cigarette, cigar, and smokeless tobacco use. However, the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) data analysis also found that about one in six (nearly 4.5 million) students were current users of some type of tobacco product in 2020.

The study, published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, assessed current (past 30-day) use of tobacco products including e-cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, hookah, pipe tobacco, and heated tobacco products. The study found that nearly one in four high school students (3.65 million) were current users of any tobacco product in 2020, down about 25 percent from about one in three (4.7 million) in 2019. About one in 15 middle school students (800,000) were current users of any tobacco product in 2020, down nearly 50 percent from about one in eight (1.5 million in 2019).

From 2019 to 2020, decreases among both middle and high school students also occurred in use of any combustible tobacco product, the use of two or more tobacco products, e-cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco. For the seventh year in a row, e-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product among both middle and high school students. Many youths use multiple tobacco products; among current tobacco product users, about one in three high school students (1.27 million) and about two in five middle schools students (340,000) used two ore more tobacco products in 2020.

A press release is available here. The full CDC report on youth tobacco use is available here.

HHS Issues First National Strategic Plan to Address STIs

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) this week released its first national strategic plan to address the public health crisis caused by alarming increases in rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the United States over the past six years. The STI National Strategic Plan 2021-2025 sets national goals, objectives and strategies to respond to the STI epidemic. The plan will serve as a roadmap to help federal and non-federal stakeholders at all levels and in all sectors reverse the sharp upward trends in STI rates.

Between 2014 and 2018, the rates of reported cases of primary and secondary syphilis, congenital syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia rose 71 percent, 185 percent, 63 percent, and 19 percent, respectively. Human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common STI, accounts for 14 million new infections per year. The impact of the STI epidemic does not fall equally across all populations and regions. Adolescents and young adults, men who have sex with men, and pregnant women are disproportionately impacted by STIs. Social determinants of health contribute to a substantial unequal burden of STIs in Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Hispanic communities. People living in the Southern and Western regions of the U.S. are also disproportionately affected.

The STI plan outlines five goals to guide planning efforts, which include:

  • Prevent new STIs
  • Improve the health of people by reducing adverse outcomes of STIs
  • Accelerate progress in STI research, technology, and innovation
  • Reduce STI-related health disparities and health inequities
  • Achieve integrated, coordinated efforts that address the STI epidemic

Each goal includes a set of objectives and strategies to guide partners and other stakeholders toward achieving them. The objectives and strategies are evidence- and science-based, flexible, integrated, and promote innovative approaches.

The full national strategic plan is available here.

DHCS, OSG Solicit Input on Trauma-Informed Network of Care Roadmap

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), in partnership with the Office of the California Surgeon General (OSG), recently released for public comment a draft ACEs Aware Trauma-Informed Network of Care Roadmap. The Roadmap will serve as a guide for health care providers, social service agencies, and community-based organizations by providing practical steps to help grow cross-sector networks of care that support children, adults, and families in effectively mitigating the impacts of ACEs and toxic stress.

Public comments are welcomed on the draft Roadmap by January 15, 2021. Comments may be submitted online using this survey. The full drafted Roadmap is available here.

CDPH, CDSS to Hold Webinar on Messaging with ACEs Data

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Essentials for Childhood (EfC) Initiative will convene a webinar on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm entitled, Creating Compelling Messaging with ACEs Data. The webinar will feature considerations for practical application of the “Adverse Childhood Experiences Data Report: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 2011-2017: An Overview of Adverse Childhood Experiences in California.”

The webinar will focus on how to create effective and compelling messaging that support stakeholders in understanding ACEs in California, identifying risk and protective factors, and enhancing efforts to adopt and implement data-informed interventions that reduce and prevent adverse childhood experiences.

Additional information, including webinar registration, is available here.