On Friday, July 24th, at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom held a press briefing to provide a COVID-19 update on the state’s response to the pandemic.
The Governor opened by discussing COVID-19's effects on essential workers. As depicted in the slide below, Newsom said the "overwhelming majority" of California's essential workforce is Latino, Black, and Asian.
In response to the data above, today’s announcement was about additional worker safeguards, including preventative measures; employer education; and long lasting protections.
In terms of preventative measures, Newsom aims to ensure workers can isolate and quarantine when sick or exposed; provide safe, temporary housing for COVID-19 positive and exposed agriculture and farmer workers; and build on public awareness campaign to reach employers, workers, and families.
Regarding employer education— Newsom said the state is releasing a new Employer Safety Handbook that will include guidance for safe, clean environments; best practices for an outbreak; proactive education efforts to help businesses comply; and testing information for employees. A copy of the handbook can be found here.
Finally related to ensuring long lasting protections, Newsom said he wants to expand worker protections and build on existing Executive Orders including: COVID-19 paid sick leave; workers’ compensation for at risk workers; strategic enforcement of labor laws; and strengthen employer reporting of outbreaks. Newsom referenced (multiple times) partnering with the Legislature on these efforts through bills, however, no other details were provided.
Additionally, Newsom did note that there is going to be more "very specific" strategies related to compliance and enforcement efforts. He does not want to be punitive, but rather, wants to pursue an "open hand, not closed fist" approach to enforcing COVID-19 rules.
As he does regularly, Newsom addressed the latest COVID-19 numbers, including the hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) patient figures. There are 6,825 positive COVID-19 hospital patients. Of those patients, 1,978patients are in the ICU. Hospitalization rates continue to increase, but "there is a decrease in the increase," Newsom said. The rate of growth is "declining modestly." California has 11,932 ventilators still available. Further, he said, the positivity rate is important to consider. The 14-day positivity average is over 7.5 percent. “New surprise” regarding a “new strategy” with testing coming next week, Newsom said in hinting about “pool testing”.
Currently, there are 36 counties on the state’s monitoring list. A couple of those counties have been on the list for less than 3 days. The list can be found here: https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmap-counties/.
In closing, the Governor said it is imperative to wear a mask, physically distance, and wash your hands.
During the Q&A, Newsom was asked about unemployment benefits and the issues at EDD. In response, he said EDD has been a focus and next week we'll hear more about a long-term strategy to fix technology problems at EDD as many people struggle to get their unemployment checks.
Regarding evictions, Newsom is working with the Legislature and specially Assemblymember David Chiu and Senator Anna Caballero on to address this issue.
The briefing concluded approximately at 1:00PM PDT.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19. There are now a total of 425,616 (+2.9 percent) confirmed positive cases and 8,027 (+2.0 percent) deaths in California. As of July 22st, there have been 6,778,304 tests conducted in California and reported to the California Department of Public Health. This represents an increase of 113,306tests over the prior 24-hour reporting period. More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here.
On July 22nd, Newsom announced that the state will maintain a stockpile of 100 million N-95 respirators and 200 million surgical masks to increase preparedness heading into the fall. For a copy of the Governor’s Office press release, please see here.
The https://www.covid19.ca.gov/ website is being updated continuously. A complete list of the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts can be found here.
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