California announces "SMARTER" approach to COVID-19 response

Virus Outbreak
Posted at 2:40 PM, Feb 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-18 02:46:51-05

Officials in California are unveiling the next phase of the state's COVID-19 response.

It's called the "SMARTER Plan" and focuses on seven key components -

  • Shots
  • Masks
  • Awareness
  • Readiness
  • Testing
  • Education
  • Rx

Gov. Gavin Newsom discussed the plan during a live press conference Thursday afternoon.


In a teleconference earlier on Thursday, California Health & Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly explained that the state's plan will include "on and off-ramps" that allow the response to change based on how the virus or a variant is affecting people at any given time.

"The virus will drive what we do," Dr. Ghaly said.

For example, masking may be required again at some point in the future.

Dr. Ghaly said decisions will be made based on the evaluation of case rates or hospitalizations, depending on the characteristics of a variant or surge.

Some specifics of the plan include increasing the state's capacity to administer at least 200,000 vaccines per day (shots); maintaining a stockpile of 75 million high-quality masks and distributing them as needed (masks); working with community-based organizations to continue promotion of vaccination and masking (awareness); data tracking and sequencing of at least 10% of positive COVID-19 specimens (readiness); maintaining capacity to perform at least 500,000 tests per day (testing); expanding school-based vaccination sites by 25% (education); and maximizing orders for the most clinically effective therapeutics available (Rx).

Dr. Ghaly said there is no change to the masking requirement in schools at this time but it's expected he'll be able to announce a date for lifting the requirement when state officials provide a planned update on February 28.

To read the full "California SMARTER Plan," click here.