On Monday, June 29th at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom held a press briefing to provide an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, Newsom began by recounting the state actions taken to address this crisis. As part of his recap, he mentioned California working with the federal government; issuing a statewide Stay-at-Home order; allowing for local attestations; and developing a four-phase approach to reopening.
Additionally, Newsom noted that the state is also requiring counties to use a "dimmer switch" to dial back reopening plans as conditions change. He offered some examples of recent state actions including: requiring seven counties to close bars to slow the spread of the virus; recommending another eight counties to their close bars; directing Imperial County to maintain Stay-at-Home order due to community transmission. "We are doing this because we have seen an increase in the spread of this virus," Newsom said.
More specifically, on June 28th, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the governor released guidance on the closure of bars for counties on the County Monitoring List. The Department recommends that counties on the County Monitoring List for three or more consecutive days, but less than 14 days, close bars through local health officer order (or do not allow for the opening if bars have not yet been allowed to open in the county). Counties which have been on the list for 14 days or more are required to immediately close bars. Impacted counties for mandatory bar closure include: Fresno, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, and Tulare. The counties recommended for bar closure include: Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Stanislaus, and Ventura. Also, CDPH noted, the following counties do not have bars open currently and are recommended to keep them closed (Contra Costa and Santa Clara) or required to keep them closed (Imperial and San Joaquin) based upon their duration on the county monitoring list. The CDPH press release can be found here.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services, offered additional information regarding the state’s County Monitoring List using the slide below. As shown, 19 counties are now receiving “targeted technical assistance”. Four counties – Solano, Merced, Orange, Glenn – were added today. In total, the counties on the list represent about 72 percent of the state’s population.
Dr. Ghaly said that the state is watching for several local conditions including elevated disease transmission, increasing hospitalizations and limited hospital capacity. Finally, using the slide below, Dr. Ghaly noted that the state is taking a tiered approach to local circumstances.
Newsom also addressed state enforcement. “I will be signing a budget later today that ties $2.5 billion to certification from counties that they are adhering to and enforcing these orders,” he said.
As he does regularly, Newsom addressed the latest COVID-19 numbers, including the COVID-19 hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) patient figures. He reported that there are 4,577 positive COVID-19 hospital patients. This figure represents a 1.8 percent increase over the previous day. Of those patients, 1,385 are in the ICU. The ICU figure represents a 0.4 percent increase. For context, hospitalizations are up 43 percent in last two weeks. But there is still plenty of overall hospital capacity, Newsom said.
Specific to California's COVID-19 test positivity rate, Newsom reported that on Sunday, California had 5,307 people test positive, which was a 45 percent increase over a 7- day period. The state is now at a 5.5 percent positivity rate over the last 14 days. The positivity rate over seven days is even higher, at 5.9 percent. Two weeks ago, it was 4.4 percent. "We don't like the trend line," Newsom said.
Towards the end of the briefing, Newsom spoke about COVID-19 in state prisons. He reported that 2,589 inmates have tested positive for the virus. At San Quentin, there are 1,011 cases as of this morning. “That is our deep area of focus and concern right now." About 42 percent of the inmates at San Quentin are deemed medically vulnerable, which has been a factor in looking at who can be released early. He said many of the people under review have nowhere to go once they get out, so that has posed a challenge. However, Newsom did take a moment to address the past efforts made to “decompress” the prison system including capping intakes, changing transfers processes, and releasing some 3,500 inmates close to completing sentences. He also referenced that the Legislature will be holding an oversight hearing on this issue later this week.
During the Q&A portion of the press briefing, Newsom was asked about why he did not require the closing of bars statewide. In response, he reiterated local conditions drive the state’s response. Additionally, Newsom hinted that additional orders could be forthcoming to build on the bar closures he mandated over the weekend, but offered no details. “We are considering a number of other things to advance, and we will be making those public as conditions change.”
The press briefing concluded approximately at 1:15 PM PDT.
The CDPH announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19. There are now a total of 211,243 (+2.3 percent increase) confirmed positive cases and 5,905 deaths (+0.6 percent increase) in California. More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here.
On June 25th, Governor Gavin Newsom released tools, technology, and data that will allow scientists, researchers, technologists, and all Californians to better understand the impact of COVID-19. This includes the California COVID Assessment Tool, or CalCAT, a “model of models” that contains assessments of the spread of COVID-19, short-term forecasts of disease trends, and scenarios of the course of the disease from modeling groups across the country. More information about the California COVID Assessment Tool can be found here. A copy of the Governor’s news release can be found here.
Additional information regarding open sectors in counties with variance 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 here.
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