Governor Newsom announced Wednesday that California hospitals will soon be allowed to perform “scheduled surgeries” as the state’s health care system remains intact amid influxes of COVID-19 patients. Coronavirus testing is also expected to grow significantly by the end of the month.
But don’t hold your breath: Newsom says there’s still no definite “opening date” for the Golden State in the books — yet.
NEW: CA will work with our hospitals and health systems to resume delayed medical care like tumor removals and key preventive care services--which were deferred to prep for the #COVID19 surge.— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) April 22, 2020
We’ll do this in a thoughtful and judicious way to ensure our system has the capacity.
As reported by KPIX, the California Governor’s press conference this afternoon was somewhat sobering; there’s absolutely a light at the end of this tunnel, we just can’t see it yet. Among the Governor’s mid-week updates — which included information on state-wide contact tracing measures and additional testing sites — Newsom stated “scheduled surgeries” will soon be permitted and that COVID-19 testing is improving by the day.
“We are in a position today to begin to pull back and lean in by beginning to schedule surgeries once again throughout not only our hospital system but our broader health care delivery system,” the governor added in Wednesday’s live-streamed event, remarking that these "essential” surgeries don't include those done solely for cosmetic reasons.
“These are surgeries that are not only scheduled but essential,” he continued. “Tumors, heart valves the need for people to get the kind of care that they desire. If it’s delayed, it ultimately becomes denied. If it’s delayed it can become acute.”
This bit of news also comes as a sigh of relief for certain medical and operating room employees furloughed over their services, essentially, being wiped out overnight.
“We will be thoughtful and judicious on how we [restart of surgery units], we will not overload the system,” he answered. Newsom and his team are expected to start contacting health care systems throughout the state to inform them when they can again schedule certain operations.
Another celebrated update spun around California’s COVID-19 testing capacity and availability, both of which are slated to expand over the next few weeks… and months.
CA will add an additional 86 testing sites -- specifically focused on underserved communities and communities of color that are often harder hit by #COVID19.— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) April 22, 2020
We need equity in our testing capacity across the state to keep ALL Californians healthy.
"Our goal is [to have COVID-19 testing] north of 60,000 a day," Newsom declared, per SFGate. Currently, some 16,000 COVID-19 tests are performed daily in the state, up significantly from the 2,000 done in early March. By the end of this month, Newsom expects at least 25,000 tests will be conducted each and every day as they move toward more lofty totals: "We want to have a minimum of 60,000 to 80,000 tests a day.”
For the state’s ideated contact-trace program, California will need to at least meet around half of those figures to see that agenda to fruition.
“We need increased capacity when cold and flu are more prevalent and we need to answer the question of whether someone has a cold, the flu or COVID," said Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, noting that 35,000 daily tests need to be preformed every single day in order to support the plan; this would give healthcare facilities ample wiggle room to test for the new respiratory virus as other seasonal illnesses come to the forefront.
And given the recent news from CDC Director Robert R. Redfield that the United States might experience a “second wave” of coronavirus — one more severe than the crest we’re all currently riding — come fall, COVID-19 testing needs to grow at novel speeds.
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