Governor Declares State of Emergency for COVID-19

On Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a State of Emergency for California to enhance the State’s ability to respond to COVID-19. The Governor, joined by California Health and Human Services Secretary Ghaly, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Health Officer Sonia Angell, and Office of Emergency Services (OES) Director Mark Ghilarducci, convened a press conference to announce his actions and provide greater context for taking such measures. The Governor assured Californians that as a state, we are prepared and that the State of Emergency is focused on ensuring greater resources and flexibility as we continue our response efforts.

The Governor’s State of Emergency proclamation does the following:

  • Allows the state to enter into contracts to arrange for the procurement of materials goods and services needed to prepare, contain, respond to and mitigate the effects of COVID-19.
  • Allows out-of-state personnel, including medical personnel, to provide services with approval from the director of the Emergency Medical Services Authority (for medical personnel) and Office of Emergency Services (for non-medical personnel).
  • Prohibits price gouging through September 4, 2020.
  • Allows for the use of state-owned properties that OES determines are suitable in COVID-19 efforts.
  • Allows for the use of fairgrounds determined suitable for COVID-19 efforts.
  • Waives the 30-day time period for local health emergency renewal and 60-day time frame for local emergency renewal for the duration of the statewide emergency.
  • Directs OES to provide assistance to local governments that demonstrate extraordinary or disproportionate impacts from COVID-19.
  • Directs CDPH to waive licensing requirements to ensure hospitals and health facilities can adequately treat patients legally isolated as a result of COVID-19.
  • Directs state agencies, in coordination with OES to provide updated and specific guidance relating to preventing and mitigating COVID-19 to schools, employers and employees, first responders and community care facilities by March 10.
  • Allows for emergency transport of patients to medical facilities beyond acute care hospitals under the approval of EMSA.
  • Allows DSS to waive current law, regulations, licensing standards and procedures regarding the use of community care facilities, day care facilities, and residential care facilities for the elderly.

The day after declaring a State of Emergency, the Governor also announced free medically necessary testing for individuals covered under commercial and Medi-Cal health plans regulated under the Department of Managed Health Care. This includes waiving cost-sharing for emergency room, urgent care and provider visits for COVID-19 screening and testing.