Oddly, Newsom did not report the record number of new daily deaths at his COVID news conference. Neither was it mentioned in tweet pushed to the governor’s account during his speech.
The record number of deaths was, however, listed on the state’s reporting site.
The governor did report 9,718 new cases of the virus on Friday, down from the previous day’s massive spike. He said the 14 day positivity rate is now 7.5 percent, which is fairly static.
Hospitalizations are growing by 9 percent day-over-day. “The rate of growth is beginning to decline modestly,” said Newsom, “but that is nothing to jump up and down about.”
ICUs are seeing a 14-day average increase of 11 percent increase each day, which the governor indicated was on a similar path to hospitalizations.
Newsom said about 42,000 of the state’s 70,000+ hospital beds were currently filled.
The critical R rate in the state is just below 1, meaning that every person who gets the disease passes it on to less than one other person, which is good news. But, warned the state’s top health official Dr. Mark Ghaly, there are many regional hot spots with an R above 1.
The governor said 34 counties accounting for 90 percent of the state’s population are now on a watch list. In terms of school reopenings, said Newsom, “This is the list you want to be off of.”
Watch his speech below.
Newsom spent much of his prepared remarks outlining new worker protections.
“Not enough focus has been given to essential workers in this state,” he said. That includes cooks, construction workers, nurses, cashiers, truck drivers, farm workers and many more.
“We didn’t get under the hood. Overwhelmingly, represented by the Latino community.” They make up half the cashiers in the state, according to the governor.
“That’s the community that is increasingly being disproportionately being impacted. This is where we’re seeing the spread: essential workforce, the Latino community.”
Additional worker safeguards to support workers and employers, said Newsom. “We want to extend some longer-lasting worker protections.”
Newsom outlined the following proposals:
-Allow workers who feel sick to take time off, to isolate
-Provide safe, temporary housing for the COVID “positive and exposed” among the state’s 600,000+ migrant farm workers
-An expanded pubic education campaign for workers and employers, including an “Employer Safety Handbook”
That handbook was referenced last week by Ghaly.
“We’re going to be doing some more strategic enforcement of our labor laws,” said Newsom, “in the spirit of an open hand, not an open fist.”
“We’ve gotta hold some of those folks to a higher level of expectation,” he said.
Newsom said specifically that his administration will also push legislators to strengthen paid sick leave and workers’ comp for at-risk workers.
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