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  • Tuesday, January 26, 2021 12:36 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    State of California

    HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES AGENCY

    &

    GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS AGENCY

    For Immediate Release

    Tuesday, January 26, 2021

    Contact: Amy.Palmer@govops.ca.govDarrel.Ng@cdph.ca.gov

    Newsom Administration Supplements Vaccine Delivery System; Announces Creation of Statewide Vaccine Delivery Network to Simplify and Standardize Vaccination Process With Equity as a Core Focus

    New system will partner with counties on health education, outreach to hard-to-reach communities

    Third-party administrator will come on board to streamline, improve and expedite vaccine administration, with ability to scale

    Californians can go to MyTurn.Ca.Gov to sign up for notification now, scheduling tool to launch February statewide

    SACRAMENTO – Based on learnings from the 10-Day Vaccine Challenge, the Newsom Administration detailed a series of vaccine delivery system changes to focus each sector of the health care system on their core competencies and expedite vaccine administration.

    The vaccine distribution and operations effort will be led by Yolanda Richardson, Secretary of the Government Operations Agency, in consultation and partnership with Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the California Department of Public Health. While vaccines remain extremely limited, the goal is to build a system to equitably and efficiently administer vaccines when supply increases.

    “Our state and county public health leaders have done the important groundwork to get California’s vaccination plan up and running and we are grateful to them and will continue to partner with them,” said Governor Newsom. “We have learned that to accelerate pace we need to dial up the scale of our efforts to ensure vaccine supply goes into arms as quickly as it arrives in the state. This collaboration between Secretaries Ghaly and Richardson continues our approach to lead with public health and add Secretary Richardson’s expertise in operations and with the health care delivery system which will be pivotal in implementing these improvements to get all Californians vaccinated safely and swiftly, with equity as our North Star.”

    Specifically, the state will implement three changes based on the lessons learned from the 10-Day Vaccine Challenge.

    Simplifying Eligibility: In simplifying eligibility beginning mid-February, the state will implement a statewide standard under which health care workers, individuals 65+ and education and child care, emergency services and food and agriculture workers will be eligible to start making appointments to receive the vaccine, pending vaccine availability. These are the groups identified in Phase 1B, Tier 1.

    Future groups will become eligible based on age. This statewide standard will move in unison across all 58 counties. This will allow the state to scale capacity up while also ensuring the vaccine goes to disproportionately impacted communities.

    Standardizing Information and Data: Leveraging California’s innovation and technology assets, the state is officially launching My Turn today, a new system for Californians to learn when they are eligible to be vaccinated, a place to make an appointment when eligible and a mechanism to easily track vaccination data. Through My Turn, individuals can sign up for a notification when they are eligible to make an appointment and schedule one when it is their turn. My Turn will also help track those who have yet to receive a second vaccine dose and need additional outreach.

    Technology from California companies Salesforce and Skedulo are the foundation for My Turn. Having been piloted in Los Angeles and San Diego counties, individuals can visit https://myturn.ca.gov to register for a notification immediately. Scheduling appointments beyond the pilot counties is expected to be available in February.

    The My Turn system will also automatically report vaccination information into state data systems. Providers will be required to either administer vaccines via the My Turn scheduling system or an electronic health record with an automatic data feed into the state’s system. This will reduce data lags and give us real-time information on how we are doing at the local and statewide levels.

    Addressing Available Supply by Streamlining Vaccination Process: Based on recent learnings, the state vaccine team will build on the work of counties and health providers to coordinate vaccine delivery statewide, with an eye toward ensuring safety, equity and the fastest possible delivery of vaccine.

    California will build a statewide vaccine administration network to speed the equitable delivery of current supply to eligible Californians. The state, through a Third Party Administrator (TPA), will allocate vaccines directly to providers to maximize distribution efficiency. This will also give the state greater visibility into what is happening on the ground.

    The vaccine provider network is expected to include public health systems, pharmacies, health systems, public hospitals, community health centers, pharmacies and pop-up and mobile sites with an immediate focus on allocating to today’s high-throughput providers. The vaccine provider network will expand as vaccine supply grows and vaccine characteristics change, with fixed and mobile sites used to meet the needs of individual communities. Local public health systems will continue to play a key role as vaccine providers and by providing their unique insights and knowledge to ensure the network reaches disproportionately affected Californians.

    The new approach will continue to focus on equity. Vaccines will be allocated to make sure low-income neighborhoods and communities of color have access to vaccines, and providers will be compensated in part by how well they are able to reach underserved communities. Real-time data will allow for adjustments to be made if initial equity targets are not met.

    While the state will drive faster administration of available vaccine supply, overall vaccine supply into California will continue to be dictated by the Federal government.

    Secretary Richardson is an operations expert with 25 years of management experience in the private and public sector, including a leadership role where she helped launch Covered California. She also has deep experience with the health care delivery system, serving as Chief Operating Officer at San Francisco Health Plan, and leadership positions at health information exchange Cal eConnect and vision care health insurance company Vision Service Plan.

    Secretary Richardson will work closely with California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, who leads the state’s health care services, social services, mental health services, alcohol and drug services, income assistance and public health services. 

    ###


  • Monday, January 25, 2021 1:36 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)


    NOTE: This is an extension of the already existing statewide residential eviction moratorium and does not apply to self storage liens, unless you live in a city or county that has a moratorium - look up your city or county HERE to discover if you have one in your area. 


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    Contact: Governor's Press Office

    Monday, January 25, 2021

    (916) 445-4571

    Governor Newsom, Legislative Leaders Issue Statement on Eviction Moratorium Extension

    SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon today issued the following joint statement on the extension of the eviction moratorium to protect Californians impacted by COVID-19:

    “COVID-19 continues to devastate communities across our state and too many Californians remain one paycheck away from losing their apartments or homes. These families need protection and relief now. 

    “Today, we are announcing an agreement to extend the eviction moratorium in California through June 30, 2021 – protecting tenants and small landlords from losing their housing as the nation continues to confront the pandemic. We are also moving forward as quickly as possible to deploy California’s share of the latest federal stimulus bill – ensuring that up to $2.6 billion in renter aid is administered quickly, equitably and accountably.  

    “These critically needed federal funds, targeted to the most at-risk households with unpaid back rent, will help tenants stay afloat during and after this pandemic. Income-qualified tenants and their landlords can choose to receive direct rental assistance in exchange for forgiving prior rental debt.  

    “While we are proud of this agreement, which maintains California’s COVID eviction protections as the strongest statewide rules in the nation, our work is far from over. This eviction moratorium and rapid deployment of funds to the most at-risk are among our top priorities. But we have more work to do, together, to tackle the structural housing cost crisis in California. The pandemic exacerbated these issues, it did not create them. And our work to address these fundamental issues must continue with urgency and resolve. 

    “We thank the many stakeholders who have engaged in this process for the past several months, and we recommit ourselves to the work ahead to maintain California’s position as the most compassionate, progressive state in America.” 

    ###

    Governor Gavin Newsom
    State Capitol Building
    Sacramento, CA 95814


  • Monday, January 25, 2021 1:31 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    SB 91 was just amended to extended the deadline in AB 3088 to June 1st.  

    https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB91


  • Monday, January 25, 2021 12:44 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    New post on Cal OES News

    Public Health Officials Lift Regional Stay at Home Order for All Region

    by Alyson Hanner

    SACRAMENTO – Officials with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today ended the Regional Stay at Home Order, lifting the order for all regions statewide, including the three regions that had still been under the order – San Joaquin Valley, Bay Area, and Southern California. Four-week ICU capacity projections for these three regions are […]

    Read more of this post

    Alyson Hanner | January 25, 2021 at 8:41 am | Tags: Bay Area, CDPH, Coronavirus, covid, COVID19, Hospitals, mask, PPE, Public health, regions, San Joaquin Valley, SOCIAL DISTANCING, Southern California, Stay at Home Order, tier | Categories: Allied Agency News | URL: https://wp.me/pa2L1o-5Mn


  • Wednesday, January 13, 2021 1:36 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    New post on Cal OES News

    Seniors 65+ Now Eligible to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine to Effectively and Efficiently Increase Vaccine Distribution, Reduce Hospitalizations and Save Lives

    by Shawn Boyd

    New Tool to Notify People of Vaccine Eligibility to Launch Next Week SACRAMENTO – In order to increase the pace of COVID-19 vaccine distribution to those at greatest risk, the state is prioritizing individuals 65 and older to receive the vaccine as demand subsides among health care workers. “There is no higher priority than efficiently […]

    Read more of this post

    Shawn Boyd | January 13, 2021 at 1:25 pm | Tags: Cal OES, california department of public health, California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, CDPH, Coronavirus, COVID-19, COVID19, Department of Public Health, Vaccinate All 58 | Categories: Allied Agency News | URL: https://wp.me/pa2L1o-5Kq

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  • Monday, January 11, 2021 1:28 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    On Monday, January 11, 2021, at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom provided an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    At the start of the briefing, Newsom addressed the latest COVID-19 case numbers. Specifically, he reported there were 39,839 new COVID-19 cases on January 10th and California's seven-day average is 41,415 new cases.  California's COVID-19 positivity rate is 13.7 percent over the last two weeks. Newsom also soberly reported that an average of 476 Californians have died from the coronavirus every day for the past week.  Hospitalizations and ICU patient figures, Newsom said, are “a point of some optimism and light”— only a 6 percent increase in COVID-19 hospital admissions and a 13 percent increase in COVID-19 ICU admissions over the last 14 days.  Currently, there are about 117 patients in the state alternate care sites.

    Based on ICU data, four regions, San Joaquin Valley, Southern California, Greater Sacramento, and the Bay Area continue under the Regional Stay at Home Order. Once a region’s four-week ICU projection shows a capacity of greater than or equal to 15%, the order will be lifted for that area.

    Below is the current available ICU capacity by region. 

    • San Joaquin Valley               0.0%
    • Southern California              0.0%
    • Bay Area                                 0.7 %
    • Greater Sacramento               9.7%
    • Northern California                 35%

    Current Status of Regional Stay at Home Order in Affected Regions is as follows:

    • San Joaquin Valley: Remains under order; four-week ICU capacity projections do not meet criteria to exit order.
    • Southern California: Remains under order; four-week ICU capacity projections do not meet criteria to exit order.
    • Greater Sacramento: Remains under order; four-week ICU capacity projections do not meet criteria to exit order.
    • Bay Area: Remains under order; The region's four-week ICU projections will be assessed in the coming days.

    Also, it is worth noting that on January 5th,  the California Department of Public Health CDPH issued a public health order to reduce pressure on strained hospital systems. To preserve services for the sickest patients, the hospital surge order requires some non-essential and non-life-threatening surgeries to be delayed in counties with 10% or less of ICU capacity under the Regional Stay at Home Order where the regional ICU capacity is at 0%.

    Then, the Governor went over some of the resources that are being deployed to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.  Specifically, 1,878 state and federal staff has been deployed to help overstretched areas across the state, especially in Southern California.  In the next 7 days, we expect 1,000 more contract staff on the ground. 

    Regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, Newsom reported that 2,466,125 total doses have been received.  Thus far, 783,476 doses have been administered. California set the goal of 1 million more vaccinations by this weekend. It is an "all-hands-on-deck" approach, Newsom said.  Specifically, there is an immediate need to "vaccinate the vaccinators" and expand the pool of people authorized to administer the shots.

    Consistent with a “use every dose” approach, on January 7th,  the state issued vaccine recommendations to local public health departments and providers focused on accelerating the pace of COVID-19 vaccine administration. The recommendations clarify the state's vaccine prioritization process and that after appropriate efforts to reach highest priority groups, health departments and providers may offer doses to lower priority groups when high-priority demand subsides, or when doses are about to expire.

    Currently, the state is in Phase 1A of vaccine distribution, which includes healthcare workers and long-term care residents.  According to the state’s COVID-19 website, “After healthcare workers and long-term care residents,  the next to be vaccinated will be individuals who have a higher risk for severe disease or death (due to age or other factors), who are unable to work at home, who live or work in geographic areas that have been highly impacted, or who are most likely to spread the disease to other workers or the public.”

    These individuals will be prioritized as follows:

    Phase 1A

    About 3 million people

    • ·        Healthcare workers
    • ·        Long-term care residents

    See CDPH Allocation Guidelines for Phase 1a.

    Phase 1B:

    1B Tier One:

    ·        Individuals 75 and older

    ·        Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors: education, childcare, emergency services, and food and agriculture

    1B Tier Two:

    ·        Individuals 65 -74 years of age

    ·        Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors: transportation and logistics; industrial, commercial, residential, and sheltering facilities and services; critical manufacturing

    ·        Congregate settings with outbreak risk: incarcerated and homeless

    Phase 1C:

    ·        Individuals 50 -64 years of age

    ·        People 16-64 years of age and have an underlying health condition or disability which increases their risk of severe COVID-19

    ·        Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors: water and wastewater; defense; energy; chemical and hazardous materials; communications and IT; financial services; government operations / community-based essential functions

    Newsom then highlighted large scale vaccination sites.  Sites opening this week include: Dodger Stadium, Padres Stadium and CalExpo.  He reiterated his budget proposal of $372 Million for vaccines, which includes funding for information technology; logistics & commodities; and a public education campaign.   Additional $350 Million for vaccines from the Federal Government is anticipated.  The Governor then previewed new vaccine PSAs.

    More information on vaccines can be found here: https://covid19.ca.gov/vaccines/.

    The Governor also announced that two gorillas at the San Diego Zoo have tested positive for COVID-19.  Another gorilla is symptomatic.  Currently, the state is working to confirm the source of the infection and strain.  His slide said "human-to-animal transfer," but Newsom says they're still investigating.

    During the Q&A portion of the briefing, Newsom was asked about nursing students being allowed to administer the vaccine.  In response, the Governor said the state is working with nursing schools to expand scope of those who can administer vaccines, along with fire agencies.

    Regarding health care worker vaccinations, Newsom said according to a UC survey, only 2 percent of healthcare workers have decline postponed the COVID-19 vaccine.  Further, he cited CalVet data – 5 out of 8 homes held clinics, 81 percent of eligible residents have received the vaccine.

    More on vaccine distribution, Newsom said the state does not want to let any vaccine doses go to waste. He wants jurisdictions to use what is available, noting that some jurisdictions will move faster than others through 1A, and will go to 1B and 1C.  The priority, he said, is on risk and exposure.

    'I'm all for it,” Newsom said on impeaching President Trump or invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him.  However, he quickly redirected saying his focus is on the pandemic and vaccine distribution.  

    Regarding potential threats to the Capitol building, Newsom said everyone is on high alert with operational decisions being made by the California Highway Patrol.

    The Governor also addressed enforcement of the Regional Stay-at-Home orders.  He said the vast majority of businesses are “doing the right thing.”  Also, the enforcement task force continues to focus on compliance with state and local public health orders.  Week of January 2nd through the 8th, 8,713 contacts, including person inspections and outreach via mail, email, and phone.

    The briefing concluded at approximately 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 2,670,962 (+1.9 percent increase) confirmed positive cases and 29,701 (+1.6 percent) deaths in California.  As of January 3rd, there have been 35,826,824 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 

    Naomi Padron

    Legislative Advocate

    McHugh Koepke & Associates

    1121 L Street, Suite 103

    Sacramento, CA 95814

    (916) 930-1993

    www.mchughgr.com


  • Thursday, January 07, 2021 10:42 AM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    COVID-19 Exposure AB 685 by Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes (D-San Bernardino) now requires employers to provide written notice and instructions to employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19 at their worksite.  Under the law, employers will also have to notify local public health officials within 48 hours if the number of cases they have qualifies as an “outbreak”.  Further, the law will enhance the Division of Occupational Health and Safety's (Cal/OSHA) ability to enforce health and safety standards to prevent workplace exposure to and spread of the virus. 

    Notably, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has released two employer guidance documents related to law.  The first document released by CDPH provides the definitions relative to AB 685, including for terms such as “COVID-19 outbreak”; “infectious period”; and “laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19.”  The CDPH also released a more lengthy Employer Q&A regarding AB 685 that addresses issues such as the information employers are required to give workers; how and when workers should be notified; and more.

     Information provided by MKA - McHugh Koepke & Associates Government Relations

  • Monday, January 04, 2021 1:22 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    On Monday, January 4, 2021, at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom provided an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    At the start of the briefing, Newsom addressed the latest COVID-19 case numbers. Specifically, he reported there were 29,633 new COVID-19 cases on January 3rd and California's seven-day average is 37,845 new cases.  California's COVID-19 positivity rate of 12.4 percent has stayed relatively stable over the last two weeks. Newsom soberly reported that an average of 336 Californians have died from the coronavirus every day for the past week.  Hospitalizations and ICU patient figures also continuing to trend upward in the state— an 18 percent increase in COVID-19 hospital admissions and a 22 percent increase in COVID-19 ICU admissions over the last 14 days.  Currently, there are 90 patients in state alternative care sites.  Newsom has repeatedly stressed the importance of staffing.

    Based on ICU data, four regions, San Joaquin Valley, Southern California, Greater Sacramento, and the Bay Area continue under the Regional Stay at Home Order. Once a region’s four-week ICU projection shows a capacity of greater than or equal to 15%, the order will be lifted for that area.

    Below is the current available ICU capacity by region. 

    • San Joaquin Valley               0%
    • Southern California              0%
    • Bay Area                                 7.9%
    • Greater Sacramento               12.1%
    • Northern California                 30%

    Current Status of Regional Stay at Home Order in Affected Regions

    • San Joaquin Valley: Remains under order; four-week ICU capacity projections do not meet criteria to exit order.
    • Southern California: Remains under order; four-week ICU capacity projections do not meet criteria to exit order.
    • Greater Sacramento: Remains under order; four-week ICU capacity projections do not meet criteria to exit order.
    • Bay Area: Will remain under the order until at least January 8th with potential to extend depending on the four-week ICU capacity projections.

    Then, the Governor went over some of the resources that are being deployed across the state to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.  Specifically, the state has sent technical assistance teams to help overstretched hospitals in Southern California. That includes additional oxygen support.  The Governor also discussed a Statewide Oxygen Strategy.  

    Regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, Newsom said he will propose $300 million for vaccines on items such as information technology (CALVAX end-to-end vaccine management), logistics and commodities (transport containers: dry ice, freezers, and more), and a public education campaign.  Newsom said he will offer additional details Friday (1/8) when he'll unveils his full 2021 California budget plan.

    Newsom said the state is working aggressively to accelerate the pace of vaccine administration by more directly engaging the healthcare system.   Thus far, a total of 1,297,000 doses have been received by the state.  Of those, only 434,306 doses have been administered as of 1/3.

    Currently, the state is in Phase 1A of vaccine distribution, which includes healthcare workers and long-term care residents.  According to the state’s COVID-19 website, “After healthcare workers and long-term care residents,  the next to be vaccinated will be individuals who have a higher risk for severe disease or death (due to age or other factors), who are unable to work at home, who live or work in geographic areas that have been highly impacted, or who are most likely to spread the disease to other workers or the public.”

    These individuals will be prioritized as follows:

    Phase 1B:

    1B Tier One:

    • Individuals 75 and older
    • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors: education, childcare, emergency services, and food and agriculture

    1B Tier Two:

    • Individuals 65 -74 years of age
    • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors: transportation and logistics; industrial, commercial, residential, and sheltering facilities and services; critical manufacturing
    • Congregate settings with outbreak risk: incarcerated and homeless

    Phase 1C:

    • Individuals 50 -64 years of age
    • People 16-64 years of age and have an underlying health condition or disability which increases their risk of severe COVID-19
    • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors: water and wastewater; defense; energy; chemical and hazardous materials; communications and IT; financial services; government operations / community-based essential functions

    Newsom then highlighted an upcoming public meeting on January 6th from 3 to 6 PM of the Community Vaccine Advisory Committee to discuss Phase 1 B, 1C roll-out and operationalization of vaccine administration.  More information can be found here: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Community-Vaccine-Advisory-Committee.aspx and also here: https://covid19.ca.gov/vaccines/.

    As he has done previously, the Governor spoke about the New COVID-19 strain.  The new strain of the coronavirus has been detected so far in six people in California after its initial discovery in Colorado. Specifically, four individuals in San Diego (one has been hospitalized) and two individuals in San Bernardino. Contact tracing and disease investigation is underway.  This strain is thought to be more contagious but not believed to be more deadly. 

    Finally, the Governor addressed small business supports and hinted that his budget blueprint will include additional help for small businesses impacted by the pandemic. 

    During the Q&A portion of the briefing, Newsom was asked about Project Roomkey.  In response, the Governor said 23,000 people have been supported through Project Roomkey, which provides temporary hotel rooms for homeless people at risk of COVID.  He continued, over "the next number of weeks and months", permanent Homekey sites to house homeless people will "start to be utilized at scale, so those will provide additional supports" in addition to the temporary non-congregate rooms.   "Good enough never is," Newsom said, but the state will propose to do more in the budget on the issue of homelessness.

    On vaccinations, Newsom candidly said the Moderna vaccine distribution has been tougher than Pfizer because Moderna must go through McKesson, an intermediary.  Again, he reiterated, 454,306 doses have been administered as of 1/3.  He said this is “not good enough” and that the state’s size poses additional challenges.   Further, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly said the state is actively working with vaccinators to clarify what to do with any extra doses to make sure they don't waste any vaccine and have those most vulnerable/beneficial be lined up to receive.  Reporters have consistently asked for additional vaccine tracking data and today’s briefing garnered several questions related to the COVID-19 vaccine.

    Regarding the effectiveness of the state's current COVID rules, Newsom punted to Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly initially.  Dr. Ghaly spoke about the Regional stay-at-home orders helping address the holiday surge.  The Governor then cited mobility was down 23 percent on NYE compared to baseline traffic volume.  He also said enforcement has increased.

    The briefing concluded at approximately 1:05 PM PDT. 

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19.  There is now a total of 2,420,894 (+1.2 percent increase) confirmed positive cases and 26,635 (+0.4 percent) deaths in California.  As of January 3rd, there have been 34,127,013 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.  

    Naomi Padron

    Legislative Advocate

    McHugh Koepke & Associates

    1121 L Street, Suite 103

    Sacramento, CA 95814

    (916) 930-1993

    www.mchughgr.com


  • Monday, January 04, 2021 12:58 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    Did FFCRA Leave Expire on December 31, 2020?

    Federal coronavirus-related paid-leave benefits expired at the end of 2020 but did they completely?...

    Read More...

    California Employers Association
    1451 River Park Drive, #116
    Sacramento, California 95815
    (800) 399-5331  employers.org

    Image


  • Wednesday, December 30, 2020 12:06 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    On Wednesday, December 30, 2020, at 10 AM PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom provided an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    At the start of the briefing, Newsom unveiled “California's Safe Schools for All Plan”, a four-pillar plan based on funding, safety & mitigation (testing, PPE, contact tracing and vaccinations), oversight & assistance, and transparency & accountability.  Broadly, the plan incentives, but does not mandate, schools to reopen.

    Specifically, he said the Budget will propose for immediate action in January, $2 billion for the safe reopening of schools beginning in February, with a priority for returning the youngest children (TK-2nd grade) and those who are most disproportionately impacted first, then returning other grade levels to in-person instruction through the spring 2021

    Additional information can be found here: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Safe-Schools-for-All-Plan-Summary.aspx  and also here: https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/12/30/governor-newsom-unveils-californias-safe-schools-for-all-plan/.

    Newsom said there is extensive evidence showing safety and mitigation measures lead to lower risk of transmission.  Further, he said in-person instruction can help with the well-being of our students and can lead to decreased anxiety and depression; lower rates of undetected child abuse and neglect; higher rates of immunizations and other positive indicators of public health and wellbeing.  The Governor also addressed supports his Administration has previously provided schools throughout the pandemic.

    Under this new plan, elementary schools may open if they submit a COVID-19 Safety Plan to both local and state officials.  Local health department can disapprove within 5 days.  Note this time, the plan is for schools to opt out rather than opt in via waiver for in-person instruction.  Once opened, local and state officials will monitor, provide supports, and enforce guidance. Counties must have a 7 day average case rate less than 28 cases/100,000 people per day to implement the plan. 

    Further, Newsom noted that the California COVID-19 vaccine drafting guidelines workgroup will finalize the next phase of distribution soon, which includes teachers as a priority.  Also, he said Dr. Naomi Bardach, a UCSF pediatrician and expert on COVID-19 transmission in schools, will lead the Safe Schools for All Team, a cross-agency team composed of dedicated staff from CDPH, Cal/OSHA, and educational agencies. 

    As Newsom concluded this initial portion of his presentation, his slide read, “California’s Safe Schools for All Plan will help ensure schools can provide safe in-person instruction.”  California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and State Board of Education President Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond were present at the briefing and both also offered brief remarks.   The Governor additionally thanked legislative leadership, as well as Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino), Chair of the Senate Education Committee and Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach), Chair of the Assembly Education Committee.

    Then the Governor addressed the latest spike in COVID-19 case numbers. Specifically, he reported there were 30,921 new COVID-19 cases on December 29th and California's seven-day average has increased to 36,295 new cases.  The 14-day positivity rate has climbed to 12.2 percent.  Hospitalizations and ICU patient figures also continuing to trend upward in the state— a 34 percent increase in COVID-19 hospital admissions and a 34 percent increase in COVID-19 ICU admissions over the last 14 days.   Newsom soberly reported that 3,477 people lost their lives over the last 14-days.

    Below is the current available ICU capacity by region.

    • Statewide                    2.5%
    • Bay Area                     7.5%
    • Greater Sacramento   17.4%
    • Northern California     31.5%
    • San Joaquin Valley   0%
    • Southern California  0%

    Regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, Newsom said 300,696 doses of the vaccine have been administered. Newsom also highlighted some upcoming meetings related to vaccine distribution.    

    As he has done previously, the Governor spoke about the New COVID-19 strain.  The California SARS-CoV-2 Whole Genome Sequencing Initiative monitors the COVID-19 virus and looks for new mutations constantly and are monitoring the new strain closely, he said.  Currently, there is no evidence of this new COVID strain in California yet but acknowledged that could change soon.

    In closing, Newsom encouraged Californians to celebrate the end of the year safely.

    During the Q&A portion of the briefing, Newsom was asked about vaccine hesitancy within the Latino community.  In response, the Governor said this has been a focus of the vaccine workgroups.  Specifically, he said they are taking lessons learned during the census process and doing peer to peer outreach.

    Regarding the “California's Safe Schools for All Plan”, Newsom said the principle of collective bargaining process is "paramount." He also said he has had several conversations with the California Teachers Union (CTA), but they are notably missing from the list of individuals who specifically support the plan.  In terms of the learning loss that has taken place over the last several months, the Governor said the state will be creative in its thinking about how to address this in the upcoming budget.  He noted extending the day, extending the schools year, tutors, and more.

    Regarding reopening a school within counties with high transmission, Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond noted that the plan allows for flexibility to address the differences in each community.  She did highlight some areas in which schools have opened safely in Marin and San Diego counties.  California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond added that as case rates change, testing becomes increasingly important.

    The briefing concluded at approximately 11:25 AM PDT. 

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19.  There is now a total of 2,187,221 (+1.4 percent increase) confirmed positive cases and 24,526 (+1.0 percent) deaths in California.  As of December 29th, there have been 32,374,471 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 

    Naomi Padron

    Legislative Advocate

    McHugh Koepke & Associates

    1121 L Street, Suite 103

    Sacramento, CA 95814

    (916) 930-1993

    www.mchughgr.com


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