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:
About 3 million people
- · Healthcare workers
- · Long-term care residents
See CDPH Allocation Guidelines for Phase 1a.
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
· 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.
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