California Coronavirus Update: Governor Gavin Newsom Reports New Infections Rose Over 40 Percent In Past 24 Hours

California Governor Gavin Newsom
California Governor Gavin Newsom visits an Oakland restaurant Jeff Chiu, Associated Press/Shutterstock

On Wednesday, before California Governor Gavin Newsom addressed the coronavirus crisis in the state, he took some time to deliver details about a 5.8 earthquake in the Owens Valley.

It was an appropriate preface, as Newsom went on to announce the state had seen another record number of newly-diagnosed COVID-19 cases, 7,149 new infections. That’s a jump of 2,000 infections in just 24 hours.

“We cannot continue to do what we have done over the past weeks,” said Newsom. He said some people got cabin fever, some people just let down their guard.”

“I’m not naive,” said Newsom. People are mixing. We are spreading this virus. It is our behaviors that are leading to these numbers.”

The southern counties Newsom said he is most worried about are L.A., Riverside, San Bernardino and Imperial County.

“What we’re not looking at is accountability at the local level,” he warned, before emphasizing that under the new budget proposal, Newsom’s office can withhold some of the $2-and-a-half billion COVID-19 funding allocated to counties that are not complying. Newsom then said compliance will be assessed on a monthly, rather than a yearly schedule. “We cannot reward bad behavior,” he said.

In addition to a record number of cases, the state also had a record number of tests, 90,000-plus. But, said the governor, “those numbers can be misleading.”

A more important number, he maintained, is the positivity rate of those tested. Newsom recalled that it was 40.8 percent at the peak of the latest curve. He said that total, on the 14-day chart, is 5.6 percent. But that is up from 5.1 percent.

“We are seeing hospitalizations beginning to increase,” said Newsom citing another key indicator. The state has seen “a 29 percent increase in hospitalizations over a 14-day period,” he said. As with hospitalizations, Newsom indicated that the last few days have been even more acute than the long term tend line.

Newsom said, though, that “we have been preparing to reopen the economy…Preparing for an increase in community spread…hospitalizations.”

As a result the state has increased its “surge capacity.” California now has an extra 6,000 surge capacity hospital beds, according to the governor, and 1,500 alternative beds that can also be activated.

Currently, only eight percent of total hospital bed capacity are being occupied, not including the alternative care sites. That’s a lot of extra capacity. But, warned Newsom, Monday it was “about 7 percent.”

More concerning “ICU numbers are increasing just over 18 percent over the past 14 days.” 20 percent to 30 percent in the past few days. 1,268 beds occupied out of 4,034.

Total new deaths from the virus were 52, for a total of 5,632. But deaths are often a lagging indicator that only spike after cases, the positivity rate and hospitalizations rise. Public health officials hope to use those predictive numbers to head off a spike in mortalities.

The California state health department on Tuesday reported what was then a record number of new coronavirus cases. That daily tally of 5,019 was a big jump from the previous record of 4,230, which was recorded on Monday. Hospitalizations, a confirmation that these are new infections vs. the result of increased testing, also rose to a record of 3,868 total.

Hospitalization totals broke records on both Saturday and Sunday, with 3,702 COVID-19 patients reported in hospital beds. The previous high before the weekend came nearly two months earlier on April 29. That was 3,497 new hospitalizations.

California was one of seven states that, on Tuesday, reported the highest number of hospitalizations since the pandemic began, according to the Washington Post. The others included Texas, Arizona, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

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