On Monday, February 8, 2021, at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom joined local leaders at the Petco Park Vaccination Super Station in San Diego, one of the many locations administering COVID-19 vaccinations in communities across the state. In less than a month, the site has administered over 100,000 vaccinations -- averaging 5,000 people a day, 7 days a week.
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria kicked off the presser by providing introductory remarks. He praised the Governor’s leadership and stated that Newsom has consistently done the right thing to protect public health, even when it has been difficult. Other local representatives present included San Diego County Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Nora Vargas, San Diego Padres CEO Erik Greupner, and San Diego County’s Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten. Notably, each of them celebrated/defended Governor Newsom's pandemic related decisions.
Then, Newsom spoke and provided the latest COVID-19 case numbers. Again, he reported, "Everything that should be up is up, everything that should be down is down." Specifically, Newsom said California is down from around 60,000 COVID-19 cases a day to just over 10,000. Overall, cases are down 29 percent in the last 7 days. The seven-day positivity rate is down from 14.3 percent in early January to 5 percent over the last seven days. Also, he noted that hospitalization rates, ICUs patients are dropping steadily. Hospitalizations are down 34 percent in the last 2 weeks. ICU admissions are down 25 percent in the last 2 weeks
On vaccines, Newsom said California has now administered over 4.65 million doses. He also highlighted the importance of these “additive” mass vaccination sites like Petco Park and said a new site in the Central Valley will be announced soon. Further, the Governor said the state has been able to speed up the pace of vaccinations in part by redistributing vaccine doses from areas that are not able to use up their supply quickly to other places that have run out.
Additionally, he briefly spoke about the COVID-19 variants, working with the Biden Administration, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Again, Newsom stated the contract with Blue Shield and Kaiser for vaccine distribution will be made public on February 15th.
During the Q&A portion of the briefing, Newsom said "flexibility is challenging when there is scarcity," referring to when different groups, like teachers, can get vaccinated. He said he has been working with the Legislature on reopening schools safely and hopes to announce a “prioritization framework” to get teachers vaccinated “very, very soon.” The state already allows teachers to get shots now, along with 65+ tier, but counties are short on supply – "We want to clarify that further."
The Governor declined to answer a question about how much discretion Blue Shield will have in allocating vaccine doses. He said that the details of the agreement with Blue Shield to manage distribution are still being worked out. Newsom will “socialize” those details later this week on February 15th.
When it comes to where people with disabilities and underlying conditions should be placed in vaccine distribution line, Newsom said, "Dr. Ghaly and I made a pact to resolve this once and for all by the end of the week."
Right now, distribution of first vs. second vaccine doses is up to counties, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly conveyed. For context, California has reported administering first shots to 3.8 million people. Of those, 847,000 have received both vaccine doses, according to CDC data.
More on reopening schools, Newsom said the biggest obstacles are “fear” and “trust.” – "We need to prove that we can safely reopen our schools."
Regarding the Central Valley, Newsom said that initially more vaccines were sent to some parts of the state because they had more health workers, who were the first group to receive vaccines. But now he promises to send more to the Central Valley and referenced his earlier comments about a mass vacation site there.
When it comes to reaching diverse communities, Newsom said the state has a $40M public messaging campaign around vaccinations that will be spread across the state. He also added that state is "learning from the lessons of the Census" and working with community organizations.
The briefing concluded at approximately 12:55 PM PDT.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19. There is now a total of 3,335,926 (+0.5 percent increase) confirmed positive cases and 43,942 (+0.7 percent) deaths in California. As of February 6th, there have been 43,994,322 tests conducted in California and reported to the California Department of Public Health. A total of 4,650,637 vaccines have been administered. More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here.
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