Gov. Newsom talks hospital capacity, safely reopening schools as California coronavirus cases rise
OAKLAND, Calif. - On day 165 since California's first coronavirus virus case, the Governor held updates on the fearsome spread of coronavirus and COVID-19.
On Wednesday, the Governor sounded like a man standing on the shore looking for a tidal wave of COVID cases to approach.
"People are not wearing their masks. People are not, for many reasons and many different circumstances, practicing their physical distancing that they should and they must in order to mitigate the spread of this virus," said Governor Gavin Newsom.
He talked a lot about hospital capacity, surge capacity, the need for more qualified people to assist in the more rural and overloaded places across the state.
"We now have the capacity to treat 50,000 Covid-19 patients, well beyond that surge capacity of 20%," said Newsom. But, if a major surge comes, he says the state can handle it. "We're gonna get 190 individuals that are coming from HHS, from our Federal partners to come in and help relief some of the stress for some of our caregivers," said the Governor.
That's important because over the last two weeks California's COVID-19 hospitalizations rose 44% and Intensive Care Unit admissions have increased 34%. Yesterday, 111 patients died, well above the much smaller number of deaths that occurred over the weekend.
Newsom also talked about school reopening at a time the president tweeted they must open and soon. "I'm not worried about the latest tweets. What we need to address is safely opening the schools and we need to make that a foundational principle. That, to me, is not negotiable, in terms of making a data-informed decision on how to safely reopen our schools," said Newsom.
San Francisco also held a press conference to talk about reopening its schools. "We are sharing this preliminary guidance because we know schools need to plan ahead for safely resuming in school attendance if and when the San Francisco Health Officer allows schools to open," said Dr. Jeanne Lee, a pediatrician at the SF Public Health Department.
Among the guidance: smaller groups of students who must stay within their smaller groups to prevent cross infections. Some of the initial 'no-nos' will be no contact sports, intramural or inter-scholastic. In music, no choral singing, and no wind or brass musical instruments. Anything that can be done outdoors is better than indoors. Once reopened, the schools are responsible for how they implement policies. "Once again, that is gonna be a decision for the schools to make," said Dr. Lee.
Governor Newsom also noted that of the 26 counties now on the state watchlist for rapid spread, Napa was added to Contra Costa, Solano, and Marin.