On Monday, November 9, 2020, at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom provided an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Governor opened by stating that nationwide we are seeing an uptick in COVID-19 case rates. As cases spike across the county, California cases are also trending up, he reported. Specifically, there were 7,212 new COVID-19 cases on November 8th and California's seven-day average has increased to 5,889 new cases. The positivity rate has also jumped— it is now at 3.7 percent. California was at 2.5 percent on October 19th. The Governor said the state is getting close to being able to conduct 200,000 tests per day. He conveyed that when you're testing more, of course, you'll see many more cases but it is the positivity rate that is causing concern. Additionally, hospitalizations and ICU patients are beginning to trend upward— a 28.6 percent increase in COVID-19 hospital admissions and a 27.3 percent increase in COVID-19 ICU admissions over 14 days.
The Governor also provided an update on how counties are faring under the state’s reopening framework. Recall, there are 4 colored tiers – widespread is purple, substantial is red, moderate is orange, and minimal is yellow. Currently, the California county tier status stands as follows:
- PURPLE: 10 counties
- RED: 20 counties
- ORANGE: 19 counties
- YELLOW: 9 counties
Newsom said during Dr. Mark Ghaly's update tomorrow, there might be some announcements of counties sliding back into more restrictive tiers.
Shifting gears, Newsom noted that California will be defending the Affordable Care Act (ACA) before the Supreme Court of the United States tomorrow. He noted that the ACA protects 6.1 million with preexisting conditions; limits higher premiums due to age or gender, and allows children to remain on parent’s coverage until age 26. Without the ACA, California would lose $20 billion in federal funding for 3.5 million Californians in Medi-Cal expansion and $7 billion in federal premium assistance for 1.35 million Californians in Covered CA. "These are jaw-dropping numbers," he said. "Tomorrow's oral arguments are profoundly significant to each and every one of you."
In terms of what the state has done to make health care more affordable, the Governor highlighted first-in-the-nation subsidies for middle-income families, record low premium changes; and coverage for all young adults regardless of immigration status. Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee was at the briefing and offered remarks. Lee said that California has gone from 17.2 percent uninsured to 7.7 uninsured thanks to the ACA. However, he also noted, there is more work to do and encouraged Californians to get covered and stay covered. More information regarding Covered California can be found here https://www.coveredca.com/.
Finally, Newsom addressed Pfizer’s vaccine announcement. Early data shows Pfizer’s vaccine is more than 90 percent effective at preventing COVID-19. He said it's great news, but cautioned that mass distribution is still a ways off. The Governor is concerned Californians might be “over-exuberant” about this news and let their guard down. He said that would be a mistake and we must stay vigilant. California continues to work on drafting guidelines for prioritization and allocation of vaccine supplies.
As always, Newsom closed by imploring Californians to wear a mask, physically distance, wash their hands, and minimizing mixing.
The briefing concluded at 1:00 PM PDT.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19. There is now a total of 964,639 (+0.8 percent increase) confirmed positive cases and 17,963 (+0.1 percent) deaths in California. As of November 7th, there have been 19,724,628 tests conducted in California and reported to the California Department of Public Health. More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here.
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