COVID Emergency Proclamation Ends

Daniel Pineda

On Feb. 21, the Long Beach City Council voted 8 - 0 in favor of ending the city’s coronavirus emergency proclamation, which has been in effect since March 2020.

“As we bring an end to the local state of emergency for COVID-19, I want to express my deep appreciation to all the city departments who worked tirelessly to support our residents during this unprecedented time,” said Mayor Rex Richardson. “Their commitment to our community has been nothing short of remarkable. We remain committed to doing all we can to keep our community safe and we ask for your continued support and cooperation as we navigate this ongoing pandemic together.”

The decision to end Long Beach’s emergency proclamation follows the ending of California’s COVID-19 state of emergency, which officially concluded on Feb. 28 – a change that Governor Gavin Newsom announced back in October 2022.

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been guided by the science and data – moving quickly and strategically to save lives,” Newsom said in his October announcement. “The state of emergency was an effective and necessary tool that we utilized to protect our state and we wouldn’t have gotten to this point without it.”

Newsom continued in the announcement: “With the operational preparedness that we’ve built up and the measures that we’ll continue to employ moving forward, California is ready to phase out this tool.”

The result of the COVID-19 state of emergency officially ending will allow Long Beach’s pandemic response to transition to day-to-day activities, rather than an emergency response. According to a press release issued by the city, these activities include the Long Beach Health Department remaining dedicated to actively working with federal, state and local agencies to maintain access to vaccines, testing and therapeutics, with the goal of preventing severe illness and death from COVID-19 among the community, especially for those who are at a higher risk of the disease.

“As we announce the end of the local COVID-19 emergency, we remain steadfast in our commitment to maintain access to vaccines, testing and other critical resources for our community,” said Health Department Director Kelly Colopy. “We will do all we can to support our residents and ensure their health and safety during this ongoing pandemic. We ask for the community’s support and cooperation as we continue to navigate this ever-changing landscape together.”

Long Beach’s Health Department is also staying committed to updating their COVID-19 dashboard once a week until further notice, as well as continuing operation of local vaccine and testing sites for the foreseeable future. Although, according to the press release mentioned before, most of this work will eventually become the responsibility of healthcare providers.

“We have learned, over the past three years, that cases ebb and flow and we may have further surges or periods of increased transmission,” said City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis. “People will need to continue to assess their own tolerance for risk and take steps, as needed, based on their health circumstances.”

Since the start of the pandemic, Long Beach has conducted more than 1.1 million COVID-19 tests, established a local distribution site to manage COVID-19 resources and provided nearly six million pieces of personal protective equipment citywide. The city also maintained a public data dashboard with key COVID-19 indicators and implemented emergency congregate and non-congregate shelters as well as isolation and quarantine sites.

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought forth many unforeseen circumstances and challenges that our city staff faced head-on and with unwavering dedication to our community,” said Long Beach City Manager Tom Modica. “I thank our entire city staff and commend them for their commitment to public service.”

However, the end of both California and Long Beach’s COVID-19 state of emergencies does not officially mean the end of the pandemic itself. According to the Long Beach Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard, almost 1,400 people in Long Beach have died as a result of the pandemic. And although cases have significantly decreased compared to the previous surge of COVID-19 in January 2022, the virus is still causing severe disease with more than 350 hospitalizations among Long Beach residents this current winter season.

Long Beach has memorialized some of the residents whose lives were lost to COVID-19, via its digital memorial. The city also has plans for the development of a physical memorial, which is currently in progress.

The city of Long Beach urges its residents to continue taking appropriate precautions, as well as practice common-sense measures, to mitigate the spread of the virus and protect ourselves and our communities. These include but are not limited to:

  • Getting boosted and vaccinated for flu and COVID-19.
  • Maximizing indoor ventilation or gathering outdoors.
  • Testing before and after travel and whenever feeling sick.
  • Frequently washing your hands.
  • Covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Staying home when feeling sick.

For more information about COVID-19 in Long Beach, including updates on the number of confirmed cases and hospitalizations, you can visit the city’s official website at You can also find Long Beach’s COVID-19 digital memorial at


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