Coronavirus Response Newsletter

CDPH Waiver of Space and Other Regulatory Requirements to Expire July 17

On May 17, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) provided hospitals 60 days’ notice in AllFacilities Letter (AFL) 20-26.8 that the waiver of space and other regulatory requirements will expire effective July 17. This statewide waiver has been in effect in some form since March 20, 2020. It suspends requirements related to configuration of physical space; classification of beds; initial licensure; changing beds or services; providing notice prior to downgrading, changing, or eliminating supplemental services; and Senate Bill 1152 discharge requirements for patients experiencing homelessness.

As a result, any temporary changes to use or to the physical environment made at the hospital under this waiver need to be restored to original conditions by July 17. If a hospital seeks to make the temporary changes permanent, in addition to seeking any needed CDPH approvals, it must submit the project to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development for review and approval no later than July 31 (two weeks after the CDPH waiver expiration).

Hospitals that have a continued need for flexibility from CDPH can submit a Form 5000a (PDF) emergency program flexibility request to [email protected] or Form 5000 (PDF) program flexibility request to their local district office.  

California to Keep Existing Mask Guidance Until June 15

Also on May 17, Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly announced that California will keep its existing guidance around masks in place until June 15 when the state will fully reopen California’s economy. After June 15, California will implement the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s  (CDC’s) guidelines released May 13, which recommend that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear a mask in most indoor settings. CDPH states that this four-week period will give Californians time to prepare for the change while the state continues its efforts to vaccinate more individuals. 

In discussions with CDPH, CHA has requested that the state make clear in its public messaging that masking and physical distancing are still necessary in hospitals. Recognizing this, in the face coverings fact sheet that CDPH released May 17 on the existing state guidance in place until June 15, the department notes that this guidance does not apply to health care settings.

Similarly, on the May 18 CDPH COVID-19 Health Facilities Call, CDPH leaders emphasized that the CDC masking guidelines do not apply to health care facilities. The American Hospital Association (AHA) secured the same clarification from the CDC; according to AHA, the CDC has clarified that its May 13 guidelines on masking and physical distancing do not apply to health care facilities. Additionally, the CDC has told AHA that health care facilities should continue to refer to CDC’s infection prevention and control guidance for recommendations on source control and physical distancing in health care settings.

State PPE Stockpile to Assist Hospitals

On May 14, CDPH announced in  AFL 21-15 that the Statewide Logistics Task Force has authorized all health care providers and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responders to request a one-time, 30-day sustainment supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) from the state’s inventory. This 30-day supply is free of charge and may be used for stockpiles or in daily operations. Health care providers and EMS responders may submit their requests regardless of the current state of commercial supply chains. This one-time initiative will end on June 15. Additional details are available on CHA’s website.

Next CDPH Office Hours: May 21

CDPH will hold a COVID-19 Vaccination Office Hours webinar for hospitals on May 21 from 9 to 10 a.m. (PT). To participate, visit this link.

Next CDPH Call for Health Care Facilities: May 25 at 9 a.m. (PT)  

Dial: (844) 721-7239  
Passcode: 7993227 

Summary of May 11 CDPH Call

CDPH has provided a summary of its May 11 call with health care facilities.

Media Coverage

In case you missed them, here are recent stories that might be of interest:

Data Resources

  • State Resources: Monitor ICU capacity by region or by county.
  • CHA Resources: Hospitals can access county dashboards through the CHA COVID-19 Tracking Tool, which includes hospital-specific data on ICU capacity.