Public Health WorkerGovernor Ducey, at the recommendation of ADHS, has terminated the state’s COVID-19 Declaration of Emergency.

His announcement makes clear, however, that public health’s response to COVID-19 will continue. 

Jessica Rigler, our assistant director for public health preparedness, put it this way during a recent ADHS virtual town hall on COVID-19 vaccines for children: 

“Public health continues whether or not we’re in a state of emergency to do the things that we do every day, which is to monitor cases of disease, to ensure that we’re helping to control and prevent outbreaks by providing technical assistance and education, to continue with these vaccination campaigns and making testing services available. And those things will happen whether or not there’s an emergency declaration in place.”

COVID-19 is no longer as widespread it once was, but it remains with us. What’s changed over the past two years? We all now have the tools and experience to deal with what may come.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe, remarkably effective, and widely available. ADHS continues to fund community partners making vaccines available in areas of need. 

Each of us can and should continue assessing our own risk and taking steps we consider appropriate based on local conditions and the situations we may be in. Masks, distancing, keeping hands washed, and staying home when sick are all proven ways to reduce the risk to you and others. 

You will see ADHS emphasizing COVID-19 booster doses in the coming weeks and months. As we move forward, keeping your immune response up to date helps make sure you’re ready as the virus that causes COVID-19 continues to mutate. This week, federal officials authorized a second booster dose for those ages 50 and older and everyone 12 and older with weakened immune systems.

I speak for everyone at the Arizona Department of Health Services when I say it’s been a solemn privilege to be of service during this global pandemic. That work continues.