FRESNO, Calif. (KSEEE/KGPE) – Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state is moving from a pandemic approach to an endemic one in the fight against COVID 19 during a press conference Thursday.

Newsom is emphasizing a reactive approach to the virus, which means focusing on early detection, stockpiling masks, and contracting with companies that make at-home rapid tests.

Local health experts say this is crucial to move from a “pandemic” to an “endemic”.

Fresno County has the third-highest active cases in hospital patients of the virus in the state with 413 total patients, behind only Los Angeles, and San Diego counties, even though those counties have much higher populations.

However, ICU patients, cases and hospitalizations are both in a downward trend.

“We need to understand that, just because the numbers are decreasing doesn’t mean that they are quite normal yet,” said Dr. Rais Vohra, Interim Fresno County Public Health Officer.

Dr. Rais Vohra urged people to continue to take preventative measures, like masking and being vaccinated.

“We really need to be more patient, and we really need to continue to allow these numbers to come down,” said Vohra.

However, one number officials don’t want to see go down is vaccination rates. They say as of now numbers are way down.

“What we’ve seen in this last week is a significant decrease in the number of vaccine doses per day being administered in Fresno County, we’re dropped down to about 1,300 doses per day on average. It’s about a 46% reduction from two weeks ago,” said Joe Prado, Fresno County Public Health Vaccination Information Lead. 

This virus isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, especially with the BA-2 Omicron variant, the so-called “Stealth” Omicron variant now spreading in other parts of the world.

“It’s not necessarily a new variant, it’s just finding new infections, mostly in unvaccinated people, and it happens to be more contagious which is why it is raising a little bit more of a concern,” said Vohra.

If the variant is detected in the county, Vohra says they’ll study it and notify the public.

The county says right now, only 38% of testing sites are being used to their full capacity within the county.

The state will evaluate those sites that fall below 50% use, and they will start to reduce the capacity of testing, or even close those testing sites.