San Francisco – The California Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP) is optimistic as new COVID-19 guidelines take effect. As of June 15, 2021, Governor Newsom has terminated the executive Stay Home Order. The new guidelines include phasing out the vast majority of COVID restrictions put in place in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For many Californians, these guidelines remain confusing. Masks are still required for unvaccinated individuals in indoor public settings and businesses. Masking is also still required for everyone (including those who have been vaccinated) in many settings, including very large events, K-12 schools, health care facilities, correctional facilities, and shelter and cooling centers. In workplaces, employers are subject to the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS).
It is still unclear if all California schools will be reopening for live learning in the Fall. Reopening guidelines and directives differ between counties. “As the primary source of care for 20 to 30 percent of children, family physicians recognize the importance of in-person learning for children’s physical and mental health,” CAFP president Shannon Connolly, MD said. CAFP encourages all school districts to reopen for live learning if the latest science, immunization levels and disease trends support safe school reopening.
CAFP is encouraged by California’s vaccination rates, but family physicians know the work is not over. Huge disparities in vaccination rates in certain communities remain. “As trusted physicians who care for patients of all ages, Family Physicians have an essential role in ensuring Californians continue to get vaccinated. This includes addressing the disparities in vaccination rates in Latinx communities,” Dr. Connolly said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of public health, primary care and the essential role of family physicians. CAFP acknowledges the thousands of Californians who did not survive COVID-19 and those who will live with the long-term health effects of the virus. CAFP expresses appreciation for the work of family physicians and public health leaders. CAFP recognizes and remains committed to address the trauma that lingers for many families and communities, including the health care community.