On Monday, October 12, 2020, at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom provided an update on the state’s COVID-19 testing and contact tracing efforts. He reported that the state is better positioned than ever to find, track, and isolate outbreaks. California is averaging 125,000+ tests every day. Further, 90 percent of individuals get their results back within 24-48 hours, which allows contact tracers to more efficiently and quickly do their jobs.
Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency Dr. Mark Ghaly offered additional details including the following figures: 10,982 total contact tracing staff trained, 1,800+ bilingual staff, and statewide remote support. Additionally, 95 percent of local health departments can begin contact tracing investigations the same day as a department receives word of a positive case and 97 percent of local health departments are contacting all contacts exposed the same day. He also said state teams are helping locals with school based modules and outbreak investigations.
The Governor then covered resources for isolation, including job-protected paid sick leave for California’s workforce; Housing for Harvest; Project Roomkey; 150M in federal funds to support counties; and 83M in philanthropic support to counties.
As he does regularly, Newsom addressed the latest COVID-19 case numbers. Specifically, he reported there were 3,449 new COVID-19 cases on October 11th, with a 3,321 case average for the past week. The positivity rate is “holding steady” at 2.6 percent in the most recent 14 day period and 2.6 percent over 7 days. Also, hospitalizations and ICU patients continue to decline— 8 percent decrease in COVID-19 hospital admissions over the past 14 days and 13 percent decrease in COVID-19 ICU admissions over the past 14 days. Newsom said despite progress on COVID-19, it would be a mistake to assume this virus is less deadly. "Quite the contrary," he stated.
Tomorrow (and every Tuesday), Dr. Mark Ghaly will 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: 16 counties
RED: 24 counties
ORANGE: 11 counties
YELLOW: 7 counties
Some counties are "teetering," Newsom said, adding that it is because this virus is "stubborn." However, expect further updates tomorrow.
As always, Newsom closed by imploring Californians to wear a mask, physically distance, wash their hands, and minimizing mixing. He said also Dr. Ghaly will issue Halloween COVID-19 guidelines tomorrow. Further, on theme parks, he said he'll be visiting "several large theme parks" this week to talk about reopening -- but "we need to do so with a health-first frame. A lot of that work will be advanced even further later this week with inside visits and deeper collaboration."
During the Q&A portion of the briefing, Newsom was asked tattoo parlors. In response, Dr. Ghaly noted the state is working with tattoo parlors to potentially ease COVID-19 restrictions, more coming at a later date.
Regarding new “Guidance for Private Gatherings” which was issued last week, Dr. Ghaly said the guidance is meant to explain that anything "more than three households" elevates risk and spread of disease. Further, he framed it as harm reduction approach, with cooler temperatures and Halloween/other holidays approaching. A copy of the guidance can be found here: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/CDPH-Guidance-for-the-Prevention-of-COVID-19-Transmission-for-Gatherings-10-09.aspx.
On reopening, Newsom said he is walking a fine line, wants to continue reopening, but "with modifications" and with safety at top of mind. "I want to make sure we get this right."
The briefing concluded at 12:42 PM PDT.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19. There are now a total of 846,579 (+0.5 percent increase) confirmed positive cases and 16,564 (+0.4 percent) deaths in California. As of October 10th, there have been 16,047,004 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.
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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