Governor Gavin Newsom delivered an update Wednesday morning on the state of California's response to the coronavirus pandemic. News Channel 3 brought the news conference live to viewers on air and online.
Governor Newsom began the update with a reminder that "we are still in the first wave" of the coronavirus pandemic. He said California was experiencing a recent increase in cases in the state.
Numbers of new cases per day have increased by about 69% comparing June 21 to 23, the Governor said. However, the number that is more important, Newsom said, is the "positivity rate," which is the percent of positive tests out of total tests completed. Today, a 14 -day average shows the positivity rate at 5.1%, Newsom said.
Hospitalizations are increasing across the state of California, Newsom said. State emergency officials have been preparing hospital beds to increase "surge capacity" in the system. ICU numbers are "also critical," Newsom said. Cases of coronavirus what require ICU treatment are also rising statewide, Newsom explained.
Contact tracing operations are growing, with a state goal to have 10,000 people trained by July 1. You can read more about how contact tracing in Riverside County works.
Newsom is encouraging everyone to slow the spread of coronavirus, or COVID-19. While it's understandable as we head into summer that families are looking for some resemblance of "normalcy," Newsom said. "I'm not naive, people are mixing, and that is increasing the spread of this virus."
"When we go back to our old ways," Newsom said, we are spreading the virus, "and we are putting people's lives at risk." As a grim reminder, the Governor noted that "we lost 52 individuals" in the past 24 hours.
The main way to slow the spread of the disease, he said, is to wear a face covering. "Do what you can to protect yourself," he said. "You're not invincible." He continued to encourage face coverings to protect others and to set an example. On June 19, Newsom issued an order mandating face coverings in most locations outside of the home.
Newsom also encouraged hand washing, showing an image to demonstrate. He asked for Californians to continue physical distancing. Aside from being within your own home, he encouraged people to minimize time indoors with multiple people. Avoid crowds. Droplets from sneezes can carry 20 feet, he said. He also asked that people move any activities with others to the outdoors. If you need to be indoors with others, wear a mask.
Looking at the increase in cases of the coronavirus, Newsom asked: "do you feel safer going out today than you did a few months ago?"
COVID-19 "didn't take summer vacation." he said. "We are still in the first wave."
Situations differ by county across the state, Newsom acknowledged. Riverside County is on a watch list with the state health officials, as News Channel 3 reported. Newsom promised that there would be accountability. He said there are measures in the budget that will help enforce accountability at the local level. Governor Newsom said state agencies like Alcohol and Beverage Control, or OSHA, can also help enforce coronavirus-related restrictions.
As of June 22, Riverside County was failing to meet four critical state criteria:
- Number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the last 14 days
- Testing positivity rate
- Percent change in hospitalizations
- Number of tests per day per 100,000 people
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