San Bernardino County ends local COVID-19 state of emergency | News

Strides that San Bernardino County has made in battling COVID-19 allowed the Board of Supervisors to end a nearly two-year-old local state of emergency on March 1.

Actions taken by the Board have ended the authority granted to the chief executive officer to make emergency procurement and staffing decisions but preserve the ability of first responders to support the emergency medical system by transporting patients.

The county is now able to safely end the local state of emergency because:

• COVID-19 case rates are dropping significantly within the county.

• More than 3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered among nearly 2.2 million county residents.

• Testing and vaccination operations supported by the state of emergency are winding down as the effects of the pandemic become more manageable.

“COVID-19 is still with us, and we continue to encourage residents to be cautious and get vaccinated. What today’s actions signal is that we have progressed to the point where extraordinary emergency spending and resource-allocation powers are no longer necessary,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman said in a news release. “I join my fellow board members in commending county employees and especially the residents of San Bernardino County for the hard work and courage they have invested in this fight.”

One provision of the now-terminated state of emergency that is still necessary allowed first responders, primarily fire agencies, that don’t ordinarily transport patients to do so using non-ambulance vehicles.

Because COVID-19 continues to strain the county’s emergency medical system through paramedic staffing shortages and disruptions in supply chains, the Board of Supervisors created a new state of emergency exclusively to preserve the one provision from the previous state of emergency that allows other first responders to augment the emergency medical system.

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