In the enormous state of California — which as Governor Gavin Newsom has said before is equivalent in scale to about 20 states the size of Nebraska or Idaho — the latest surge in coronavirus cases is showing signs of abating, though that should probably only inspire some cautious optimism.
"We’ll need to see another few weeks of this kind of data... to feel more confident about where we are as a state," Newsom said in his latest coronavirus briefing on Monday. The data he's referring to shows a 10-percent decline in COVID hospitalizations over the last two weeks of July, and a 21-percent slide in the number of new cases being reported. There was also a dip in the percent-positivity rate of those being tested — it's no 7 percent, down from a statewide average of 7.5 percent earlier in the month — and a decline in the number of COVID patients in ICUs.
Pushing people to remain cautious and safe in all their activities, Newsom referred to the early July surge that saw most of the counties in the state land on a watch list, "Let’s not relive that experience again. We can quickly find ourselves back to where we were just a few weeks ago, a month ago, with significant increases if we do not maintain our vigilance."
As KPIX notes, Newsom also used the briefing to discuss the Central Valley, which continues to be the most worrying portion of the state. He touted some success in handling the widespread outbreak in Imperial County — where the percent of positive cases among those tested peaked at 33 percent — with an all-hands approach and a sharing of duties among counties akin to a wildfire fight.
"We approached our strategy in the county more as a strike team, more as a unified command approach; something you would see more traditionally as it relates to how we organize… our approach to dealing with other emergencies such as wildfires," Newsom said. That approach included transferring hundreds of sick patients out of the county, where hospitals were quickly overwhelmed, to other parts of the state including San Francisco.
Newsom says the Central Valley remains the "biggest area of concern in a state as large as ours." In addition to $52 million in extra aid to the region from the state, Newsom said that charities had also provided around $6.5 million in additional aid including food and emergency supplies.
"Disproportionately, this disease is impacting our diverse communities,” Newsom said. “That’s why our targeted interventions, disproportionately, are focusing on essential workforce, on farmworkers, on critical workforce."
In the Bay Area, cases grew another 1.7 percent today, with Alameda County representing nearly one-third of that growth with 322 new cases — bringing the county total to 11,846, an uptick of 2.8 percent.
Alameda and Santa Clara counties continue to see growth in new cases outpacing the rest of the Bay Area, however the region as a whole shows some signs of curve-flattening once again.
San Francisco added 105 new cases today, a one-day increase of 1.5 percent bringing the city's total to 6,915.
Hospitalizations in the Bay Area are down 2 percent today to 927.
Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images