On Thursday, November 19, 2020, at 3:00 p.m. PDT, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly hosted a video conference to provide an update on COVID-19 in California.
Prior to the video conference, Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced a limited Stay at Home Order requiring generally that non-essential work, movement and gatherings stop between 10 PM and 5 AM in counties in the most restrictive (Purple) tier.
More specifically, the order will take effect at 10 p.m. Saturday, November 21st and remain in effect until 5 a.m. December 21st. This is the same as the March Stay at Home Order, but applies only between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and only in purple tier counties that are seeing the highest rates of positive cases and hospitalizations.
A copy of the Governor’s office press release can be found here: https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/11/19/state-issues-limited-stay-at-home-order-to-slow-spread-of-covid-19/.
At the start of the video conference, Dr. Ghaly offered some insights regarding COVID-19 cases across the nation. Also, cases in California are growing and we are in midst of surge, he said.
Specifically, there were 11,478 new COVID-19 cases on November 19th and California's seven-day average has increased to 9,665 new cases. The positivity rate has also jumped— it is now at 5.0 percent over 14 days and 5.6 percent over seven days. California was at 3.3 percent on November 5th, which is a 52 percent increase in the last two weeks. Additionally, hospitalizations and ICU patients are trending upward— a 63.6 percent increase in COVID-19 hospital admissions and a 40.5 percent increase in COVID-19 ICU admissions over 14 days. At this rate, Dr. Ghaly said daily case numbers are increasing at a faster rate than what we saw during the summer's surge. As an example, Los Angeles County has seen a 147 percent increase in cases since the start of the month.
Dr. Ghaly said that there is no single culprit for why cases have risen so high so fast. He said it is a combination of factors: cold weather, more mixing, more opening, and greater travel. Also, COVID-19 levels are high across the state which makes normal activities higher risk today than a month ago. Finally, he said, today’s collective actions target activities that are particularly high risk while minimizing disruptions in social connections.
Dr. Ghaly then went over additional details related to the curfew announced today. As previously noted the curfew applies to counties that are in the Purple tier. The curfew states Californians should be home by 10 p.m. and stay home until 5 a.m. and it is effective from November 21st until December 21st. Practically speaking, Dr. Ghaly specifically said individuals can still go to the grocery store or drug store; walk their dog; and get takeout from a restaurant. Finally he said, this is being instituted to avoid further restrictions. Further, he noted that the data indicates that focusing on the time period from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. is a smart choice.
At the conclusion of the video conference, Dr. Ghaly took questions from the press. When asked about enforcement, he noted that local governments can enforce. However, already some local jurisdictions have said that they would not. Sacramento County Sherriff Scott Jones, as an example, issue a statement saying his office will “not be determining – including entering any home or business— compliance with, or enforcing compliance of” the curfew.
Dr. Ghaly was also asked why he, instead of Newsom, is making today’s curfew announcement. In response, Ghaly said it is because he's here to talk about the "data and science."
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19. There is now a total of 1,059,267 (+1.1 percent increase) confirmed positive cases and 18,466 (+0.6 percent) deaths in California. As of November 15thth, there have been 21,552,528 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.
McHugh Koepke & Associates
1121 L Street, Suite 103
Sacramento, CA 95814