Governor Gavin Newsom held a press briefing to provide COVID-19 updates on Monday afternoon.
He said California is a state, “That is holding strong in terms of stability in case rates” as he reported some encouraging numbers; such as the positivity rate (out of all tests conducted, how many came back positive for COVID-19) decreasing. Back in April, the positivity rate was about 41% and now, in June, it has decreased down to 4.5%. Newsom said he expects the numbers to fluctuate, however, he does not want the positivity rate to be higher than 8%.
CA’s #COVID19 testing rate has increased.
Our positivity rate has significantly dropped over time — from 40.8% to 4.5% — and has remained stable over the last two weeks. pic.twitter.com/LVtGfjG6CP
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) June 15, 2020
In California, there have been 2.9 million COVID-19 tests completed. There are currently 150,000 positive cases and unfortunately, 5,089 people have died from coronavirus, with 100 people dying over the weekend.
Newsom reminded the audience “Our focus remains very, very, very direct at the spread of COVID-19.”
Contact tracing is the key to slowing COVID-19. The state aims to be able to test 60,000 people per day and have 10,000 tracers by July 1st. Newsom happily reported California is well on its way for both goals; with 2,243 people trained and 4,885 individuals in the process of training. Additionally, over the weekend there were 78,000 COVID-19 tests completed on Saturday and 66,000 tests on Sunday.
Over the past 14 days, ICU numbers have not increased and hospitalizations have only slightly increased which Newsom believes are significant considering in the last month, California entered the second stage of reopening and many people gathered together for Memorial Day. According to Newsom, avoiding a spike in numbers, “Bought us the time to develop the resources so we can effectively manage our way through this pandemic.”
The state will be able to handle a rise in numbers thanks to the surplus of surge beds, ventilators, and individuals working in the health care system. Newsom said, “We are not using an on/off switch, we are using a dimmer switch – based on data and science. Counties should make data-informed decisions for reopening.”
52 out of the 58 counties are, “Planning to specifically address the needs of their countries as they reopen their economies at their own pace, based upon local conditions.”
Dr. Mark Ghaly, California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary, explained they are working with all 58 counties, 13 of which are “concerning” and require additional resources, on a daily basis while addressing the disproportionate impact of COVID-19. There are a higher number of cases in Latino communities and a higher number of COVID-19 related deaths in African Americans communities. Ghaly said they are working to figure out why the numbers are uneven and what they can do to help.
Newsom said as they, “Focus day in and day out on letting data guide our decision making, we recognize one size does not fit all” and are working with human resources, technical assistants, physical support teams, local elected officials, and more to end this virus. The state is continuing to work with project room key to house homeless individuals, currently occupying 15,638 rooms.
The 1918 flu pandemic reminds everyone to be cautious and prepared for spikes because, “The first wave was relatively modest, that’s the wave we are still working through. It was the second wave where things peaked,” said Newsom.
“It’s our decisions that determine our fate and future” he continued “We can manifest the future we want” by wearing face coverings, washing your hands, and remaining physically distant.
Newsom said we need, “To recognize that this pandemic has not gone away, to recognize that you’re seeing an increase of numbers all across the country” and realize, “As we reopen our economy…that the prospect of seeing an increase in the total number of positives and an increase in hospitalizations is very real.”
As a way to thank frontline employees, along with Facebook and other agencies, the state is providing $500 to 50,000 frontline employees.
Go to covid19.ca.gov for information on preparedness plans, COVID-19 testing sites, and more.