Newsom extends COVID-19 State of Emergency till March

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Grant Phillips, Ojai Valley News reporter

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced an Executive Order last week that would extend portions of the emergency order through March 31. 

The extension provides several opportunities for the state as is deals with potential case increases, such as California’s ability to hire out-of-state health care workers and waive certain licensing requirements. 

In a recent lawsuit dismissed by a superior court in San Diego challenging mask mandates, the judge ruled that districts can decide for themselves how to enforce the mandate as well as how to follow the state’s testing and quarantine guidelines. 

As of Nov. 4, anyone ages 5+ are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. 

The doses for those 5-11 are one-third the size of normal doses, but throughout the country, there have been several miscommunications resulting in children receiving the wrong size dose. 

Unvaccinated adolescents have been a driving force behind a recent Delta surge in Britain, with 10- to14-year-olds reporting the highest case rates among any other group. This may  be in part due to England ending its mandatory mask-wearing in mid-July, without recommending vaccines for those 12 to 15 years old until mid-September. 

A new poll conducted by The Washington Post-ABC News found 46% of parents believed the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for children ages 5-17, with 52% saying they are “not at all” or “not so” confident in the safety or efficacy of the vaccine in children. 

Certain vaccine mandates for students have been challenged in court with several Northern California school districts voting to defy Newsom’s student COVID-19 vaccine mandate, putting them at risk of losing millions in state funding. 

As the current legislation stands, there will be an open-ended personal belief exemption for the student vaccine mandate. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard has been granted a stay from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, ostensibly ending the federal vaccine mandate for employers with 100+ employees by the Dec. 4 deadline. 

The court ordered that OSHA “take no steps to implement or enforce” the ETS “until further court order.” 

While OSHA intends to protect workers in emergencies, it has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation. 

The vaccine mandate for employees will move to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Cincinnati, Ohio. It’s likely any verdict will be appealed and the litigation could continue throughout the upcoming months, potentially paving a way for Supreme Court review. 

The rebuttal of COVID-19 protocols has spread throughout rural areas of California, with the Butte County town of Oroville declaring itself a constitutional republic in opposition to Newsom’s recent ruling. 

As a constitutional republic, Oroville will not enforce “any executive orders issued by the state of California or by the United States federal government that are overreaching or clearly violate our constitutionally protected rights.” 

The resolution was passed in a 6-1 vote at an Oroville City Council meeting this month. 

According to a press release from the Office of the Governor, “California has put more shots in arms than any other state - administering over 55 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine — and announced first-in-the-nation vaccine measuring, including requiring that workers in health care settings be fully vaccinated, adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of vaccinations required to attend school in-person when fully authorized for applicable grade spans, and implementing a standard that all school staff and all state workers either show proof of full vaccination or be tested at least once per week.”

The full executive order can be viewed here: 

All California adults can now receive their COVID-19 booster shots, with a six-month time frame following a full series of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and a two-month frame following the J&J vaccine. 

The Biden administration announced Nov. 17 that they are seeking to boost COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing to increase global vaccine supplies, particularly in developing nations.

The federal government is expected to subsidize efforts to produce a billion doses of the mRNA vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna by the middle of next year, officials confirmed. The President noted that $2 billion in U.S. contributions would go toward a global coronavirus vaccine initiative and would provide support to COVAX, a coalition led by the World Health Organization and others, as well as $2 billion in funding that is contingent on contributions from other nations and their timely rollout. 

The United States is averaging more than 84,000 new COVID-19 cases each day, according to a recent Johns Hopkins University study, a 13% increase over the past week. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to make a decision Nov. 19 on whether to authorize emergency use of COVID-19 boosters for all adults, following California’s early decision. 

The R-effective for Ventura County was listed at 0.87 Nov. 17, which means spread is likely decreasing. 

County information related to the vaccine, booster shots, and accessing your online digital vaccine record can be found here:

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