On Wednesday, February 10, 2021, at approximately 11:30 a.m. PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom provided an update on California’s efforts to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations in Fresno. He was joined by local representatives, including Senator Melissa Hurtado, Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, Congressman Jim Costa, and others.
Joe Prado, who is leading the vaccine distribution effort in Fresno County, kicked off the press conference with introductory remarks. He spoke about the importance of equity when it comes to vaccine distribution. Following his comments, other representatives, including Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula and Senator Melissa Hurtado, spoke and thanked the Governor for his efforts to address the pandemic, making mention of the tough decisions faced. Among the comments made, Mayor Dyer stated, "The thing we need just as much as vaccines is unity.” He was urging people not point fingers as California awaits more vaccine doses. Congressman Costa made similar comments.
As has occurred in all of his vaccine site press conference events this week, Newsom again received praise from local officials before being introduced to give his comments. However, today, protesters shouting "Recall Gavin!" and chanting were audible in the background of the livestream of the press conference.
Governor Newsom then spoke and provided an update on the latest COVID-19 figures. "We've seen progress in every category,'' he said. One month ago, the state reported over 50,000 cases. Today, 8,400 cases were reported. One month ago, the state reported a 13.9% test positivity rate. Hospitalization rates and ICU admissions are also trending downward.
Additionally, the Governor briefly addressed the issue of COVID-19 variants. He noted that two cases of the South African variant have now been detected in California.
On reopening schools, Newsom stated that a deal with the Legislature allowing for students to return to in-person instruction could come as soon as Friday.
Finally, Newsom spoke about the process that has been made regarding vaccine distribution statewide, but also in the Central Valley. Thus far, he stated that 1 in 10 people have been vaccinated in California. He highlighted Maria Suarez, who is 85 and a former farm worker who lives in Fresno. Newsom said she just helped California pass a new milestone — 5 million vaccines administered.
Newsom also announced that new vaccine sites are coming to the Central Valley for those hardest hit by COVID-19, including farmworkers. Reedley College will be the first of the OptumServe sites to be turned into a COVID-19 vaccination site. He hopes it will be up and running by February 18th and said it could provide more than 400 shots a day.
During the Q&A portion of the presser, Newsom was asked about youth sports. He said he has been working on this issue and is hopeful to make further announcements soon.
Regarding the state’s contract with Blue Shield on vaccine distribution, Newsom reiterated that he state will formalize this relationship next week.
"I'm focused every single day on getting businesses open, our schools reopened," Newsom responded when asked what he would say to small business owners and other angry Californians who want him recalled. Again, he did not comment on recall efforts.
The press conference concluded at approximately 12:20 AM PDT.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19. There is now a total of 3,354,591 (+0.2 percent increase) confirmed positive cases and 44,477 (+0.7 percent) deaths in California. As of February 7th, there have been 44,583,304 tests conducted in California and reported to the California Department of Public Health. A total of 4,914,630 vaccines have been administered. More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here.
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