Newsom says don't let your guard down as coronavirus slows in California

Governor Gavin Newsom is highlighting some good news on the Covid front, but tempering it with caution. 

"It's encouraging, but we can quickly find ourselves back to where we found were a few weeks ago," said Newsom, at a briefing on Monday. 

He reported just over 5,700 new cases in California overnight. 
The daily average number of new cases, across seven days, is 7,764.

But a week ago, it was close to 9,900, so the state has experienced a 21 percent drop. 

"Our average number of daily tests continue to go up, but the good news is the total number of people testing positive is now going down," said Newsom. 

He said he would not have confidence in the numbers unless they remain stable or slip further over the next few weeks. 

Hospitalizations and intensive care admissions are down as well, and Newsom said this shows the state can get a handle on Covid-19 especially if the positivity rate continues to slide. 

"It's not where it needs to be, it is still too high, but again it is good to see this number trending down, not trending up," said Newsom.   
The exception: Imperial county to the south and 8 counties in the Central Valley. 

Newsom said those areas are outpacing the state and need financial support for contact tracing and quarantine services. 

Tulare County, as an example, has a positivity rate of almost 18 percent.

Fresno experienced the state's first death of a minor, who had underlying medical conditions. 

"A teenager and this is a sober reminder of how deadly this disease is and how it can impact anybody," said Newsom. 

On average, California is still losing 121 people per day to the pandemic. 

With school starting in some counties, Newsom was asked if districts should be able to force teachers back into classrooms.   

"I don't believe anyone should be forced to put their lives and health at risk, period, full stop," he responded. 

Newsom said until there are effective treatments and a vaccine, Californians must remain vigilant. 

He bemoaned the fact that loosening of rules caused people to mix and sent case rates and community spread soaring. 

"Let's not re-live that experience again as we make our way through the first wave of this pandemic because we anticipate the second wave in the fall," predicted Newsom. 

Looking ahead, the Governor cautions against social mingling among families and friends during upcoming holidays.  

"This virus is not going away, it's not going to take Labor Day weekend off, it's not going to take Halloween off or the holidays off."

A sustained positivity rate of 5 percent or below is a benchmark to relax public health restrictions and resume business operations. 

Newsom praised business owners for their patience and perseverance, during what he called a "whipsaw" of changing rules.  

"The vast majority of businesses are doing everything in their power, doing their best in these very difficult circumstances," said Newsom. 

"There is a full blown commitment to follow through, to bend the curve, to suppress the growth and ultimately to extinguish this virus."