Pima County preparing to roll back many Covid-19 rules and regulations

Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 10:45 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - In the past three years, since the beginning of the pandemic, Pima County has issued 250 memos, rules and regulations concerning Covid-19.

The Biden Administration said the national health emergency will end on May 11, 2023. That means Pima County will need to decide which regulations need to be rescinded and what changes need to be made to roll back the rules, which were implemented under the health emergency designation.

The County Administrator, Jan Lesher, released a 12-page memo asking the board members to give direction on reversing the rules, regulations, and requirements imposed during the three-year-long pandemic.

Many of the changes were outlined by the Pima County Health Department, which was instrumental in making the decisions.

There were 2,626 new cases of Covid-19 in Arizona last week and 32 deaths, according to the state health department’s dashboard.

This means the pandemic is not over for everyone, even though the White House will no longer call it a public health emergency.

So what changes might we expect?

Mask-wearing will be the most visible change. The county will discuss how to remove all signs which suggest or require mask use.

Social distancing at large public gatherings and events may no longer be encouraged.

Vaccines will still be available until the federal stockpile runs out in the early fall but may be extended if the government decides to renew the contracts.

Free home testing tests will still be available until the county runs out. It has about 16,500-thousand still on hand but has asked for more.

Treatment with the antiviral Paxlovid will still be available for Medicare patients but likely with a copay.

When Title 42 is lifted, the health emergency, which allowed the government to return asylum seekers without permitting them into the country to plead their case, is thought the number of asylum seekers will double here.

Meaning the government will have to determine how to house, feed and accommodate as many as 1,200 to 1,500 each day.

These are only a few suggestions that will affect the public and others will impact employees.

The Supervisors will need to approve the changes before they can take place.

It’s scheduled to be on April 3, 2023, agenda.