On Wednesday, July 8th, at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom held a press briefing to provide an update on the state’s response to the pandemic. His opening remarks were focused on recapping his administration's past COVID-19 actions. A complete list of the state’s ongoing response efforts can be found here.
In detail, Newsom covered the state’s hospital footprint and spoke about the wide variance in terms of healthcare capacity across different counties. Currently, California has the capacity to treat 50,000 COVID-19 patients, he said, a result of the state working since March to expand hospital capacity. The Governor also noted that state has similarly built additional medical staff capacity via CA Health Corps. Finally, Newsom reported California has also grown its state supply of procedure masks and N-95 masks.
Carmela Coyle, President and CEO of the California Hospital Association, also offered some remarks at the briefing. She spoke about how hospitals are preparing for the surge in COVID-19 cases. “We are going to surge differently this time," Coyle said. She also said that in addition to putting more COVID-19 patients on remdesivir, hospitals are also putting fewer patients on ventilators. For context, Coyle noted that California doctors are finding that patients treated with antiviral drug remdesivir are getting out of the hospital faster. Newsom has called the drug “one of the more promising therapeutics."
The Governor then spoke about the drivers of the recent COVID-19 hospitalizations including: not enough people wearing masks and physically distancing; increased mixing outside the households; prison and jail outbreaks; and essential workplace outbreaks.
As he does regularly, Newsom addressed the latest COVID-19 numbers, including the COVID-19 hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) patient figures. There are 5,989 (+3.4 percent increase) positive COVID-19 hospital patients. Of those patients, 1,740 ( +2.0 percent increase) are in the ICU. Hospitalizations have increased by 44 percent over the last two weeks. ICU admissions have increased by 34 percent. More generally, Newsom also reported the state has averaged 8,116 new COVID-19 positive cases per day over the past week. He said he'll soon announce new testing goals and a new overall strategy regarding testing. California's positivity rate – a key indicator of community spread – is trending upward in the 14-day average. The 14-day positivity average is 7.1 percent as of yesterday, July 7th.
With regards to counties on the monitoring list – Napa, San Benito, and Yolo are the latest adds. A record high of 26 counties are now on the list. About a week ago, there were only 19 counties on the list. Recall, three consecutive days on this list means these counties need to shut down bars, indoor operations at restaurants, and family entertainment centers.
As always, to close, Newsom implored Californians once more to wear a face covering, practice physical distancing, and wash their hands.
During the Q&A portion of the briefing, Newsom was asked for additional details regarding the BYD mask deal and what states California has provided masks to. In response, he stated California has provided masks to Arizona, Alaska, Washington and Oregon. Currently, he continued, California has enough masks to meet its own demand and these other states had immediate needs. The states will be reimbursing California for the costs.
Regarding San Quentin State Prison – Newsom was asked if he plans to release additional inmates. He responded by saying: “The goal is to get San Quentin down to 3,000 prisoners. We have a plan to bring it down from 131 percent capacity where we were a few months ago to under 100 percent capacity in the next few weeks, to 3,076 inmates.” Newsom also stated that he went to visit California Medical Facility (CMF) in Vacaville with Judge Tigar yesterday. The visit was aimed at "protecting public health and safety for all Californians — including inmates, staff and impacted communities.''
In terms of schools, Newsom brushed off a question regarding President Trump’s tweet demanding that governors open schools for the fall. "I'm not worried about the latest tweets,” Newsom said. He stated the biggest concern is opening schools and that schools will open based upon local conditions.
The briefing concluded approximately at 1:00 PM PDT.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19. There are now a total of 277,774 (+2.2 percent) confirmed positive cases and 6,448 (+1.7 percent) deaths in California. As of July 6th, there have been 4,896,370 tests conducted in California and reported to the California Department of Public Health. This represents an increase of 103,017 tests over the prior 24-hour reporting period. More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here.
The https://www.covid19.ca.gov/ website is being updated continuously.
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