COVID-19 level stabilizes in California, but Latinos and Blacks face concerns

In his first press briefing in more than a week, Gov. Gavin Newsom said several times California is not out of the woods yet in relation to the coronavirus outbreak.

"As we mix, as we reopen, we are inevitably going to see increases in cases," said Newsom.

He noted testing in the state has increased from less than 2,000 tests per day in April, to 78,000 tests done on Saturday.

As testing goes up, the rate of people in California testing positive for COVID-19 has dropped dramatically.

In early April, 41% of those tested came back positive.

In June, that number has dropped to about 5%.

Hospitalizations across California in the past two weeks have increased by 4% while the need for ICU beds has stayed the same.

"Memorial Day, a lot of folks were out and about, and you can see again the trend line remains remarkably stable," said Newsom.

State officials say they're working hard to address an ongoing disproportionate amount of coronavirus cases among Latinos and a disproportionately high number of deaths among African Americans.

"We know across the nation there seems to be a trend that African Americans are showing up for testing much later in the course of COVID-19. What that means when we finally get someone to care that they're sicker," said Dr. Mark Ghaly, California's Health and Human Services secretary.

One of the many outstanding questions is could recent protests following the in-custody death of George Floyd impact the number of cases?

"The short answer is we don't know," said Santa Clara County's deputy executive David Campos.

In Santa Clara County, there were 46 COVID patients hospitalized on May 29 when the protests started.

That number rose to a peak of 75 patient hospitalizations on June 4 and 5 and then came back down to 49 as of June 15.

County health officials think several factors contributed to the temporary increase including protests, more testing and the reopening of more county businesses.

"There has been a slight increase, which is expected when you open to the level we did, but it's nothing too alarming at this point," said Campos.

Statewide, Newsom continues to call for facial coverings and social distance to help slow the spread of COVID-19.