Governor Newsom held a live-streamed press conference Saturday to give an update on California's current response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the news, notable mentions included an increase in ventilator production, plans to make COVID-19 testing more widely available, and an extension to the ban on evictions until May 31st.
Worries and woes birthed from the spread of this novel respiratory bug aren't going anywhere, any time soon. With a confirmed 1,500 cases of coronavirus in California — 105 cases in San Francisco, alone — as of Sunday, The Sacramento Bee reports that Newsom is amping up the state's response to the crisis, while also lending housing relief to the state's residents. (He's also working with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk to create respiratory ventilators... because, of course.)
With all these actions, including his office now aggregating both negative and positive COVID-19 test results, Newsom hopes to "[bend] the curve."
“My team is no longer providing me just the number of people that have tested positive, and they're equally weighting the number of people that have tested negative,” Newsom said, according to the LA Times. “The bottom line for us is we want to know what the spread is, [and] we want to know if we’re bending the curve.
"We want to know if our stay-at-home orders are effective.”
To help ensure people have a home to stay in and aren't left to fend for themselves on the sidewalk, Newsom extended the ban on evictions to May 31; he's also barred utilities from shutting off power and other services through that time, as well.
Regarding medical supplies — like N95 masks, swabs and vials, and respiratory ventilators — Newsom has pledged help in a multitude of ways.
The Golden State Governor is reportedly in talks with Musk to procure over 1,000 ventilators for California; these units will be made, in tandem, using labor and supplies from both SpaceX and Tesla.
“[My office] is working through [Musk's] supply chains and partnerships,” Newsom said during the weekend update. The state also has plans to invest $8.6M-plus on new and refurbished ventilators and IV fusion pumps out of an emergency appropriation.
Testing availability, however, appears to still be the bottleneck in the state's (and country's) COVID-19 crisis response.
"California needs more equipment like swabs to run a coronavirus test so it can expand testing to asymptomatic people to get a better sense of how far the disease has spread," Newsom said. To safeguard remaining test stock, Newsom called for an expansion of "community surveillance," meaning the state's limiting testing to Californians who are symptomatic and/or work in an "essential job." CalMatters reported that certain CA metros were conducting tests on "young, healthy people'' that were neither symptomatic for COVID-19 nor held such jobs; those tests, given the new parameters, are now barred under most circumstances.
To spare you from further eye strain and exposure to blue light, here are other fresh messages and reminders from Governor Newsom, bulleted below:
- Yes, you can still walk your dog outside and hike your favorite trails, as long as you practice social distancing.
- The state's shelter-in-place order is working and will get better with time — if we all comply by the rules.
- Grocery stores are hiring in a mad rush to keep pace with demand and those jobs are now considered "essential."
- We're going to see a surge in COVD-19 patients during the next three months at least, per the Chronicle, which is why Newsom has directed $42M to our state's health care systems, funds that will secure everything from medical supplies to new hospital leases.
“Be a good neighbor, be a good citizen," Newsom reiterated on the Facebook and Twitter news conference. “Those young people that are still out there on the beaches thinking this is party time — grow up."
Image: Wikimedia Commons