California Coronavirus Update: Governor Gavin Newsom Reveals Recent 56 Percent Increase In Hospitalizations, Says State Will “Lean In” On Enforcement If Businesses Don’t Comply

California Governor Gavin Newsom
California Governor Gavin Newsom mandaRich Pedroncelli/AP-/Shutterstock

On Thursday at the top of his coronavirus press conference California Governor Gavin Newsom said “masks keep people healthy.” He then went on to detail the announcements, PSAs and other campaigns the state has undertaken to try and get residents to wear their masks.

The governor revealed on Thursday that the state had seen 4,056 new positive cases in the past 24 hours. Test positivity rate in California has risen to 6.3 percent over the past two weeks, he said. Over the last seven days that number has jumped to 6.9 percent. “This is why we have the mask mandate,” Newsom said.

“We’re going to see hospitalizations begin to spike as a lagging indicator,” he then warned.

Indeed they have. The governor reported a 56 percent increase over a two week period. Also concerning: ICU bed occupation is up 43 percent over the same term.

There are currently 5,355 COVID patients in hospitals across the state. Over 46,000 total beds are now occupied by patients, both COVID-stricken and otherwise. That system has a capacity for over 70,000.

On Wednesday, Newsom ordered restaurants, movie theaters, restaurants, indoor family entertainment businesses, card rooms and zoos to cease indoor operations for three weeks. Over the weekend, the governor ordered bars and nightclubs closed. Los Angeles, Ventura and Imperial counties were among the counties that came into compliance with those restrictions yesterday.

“I don’t mean to be patronizing or paternalistic about all this,” said Newsom. “I’m just working with data and the local officials.”

On Thursday, Newsom continued to say he would not be “punitive” in enforcing the state’s mask requirement, which was issued June 18. But three Los Angeles-area cities are doing just that. “People know what the right thing to do is,” he said.

West Hollywood announced that sheriff’s deputies there would issue $300 tickets to those not wearing masks. Santa Monica joined in, promising enforcement of mask requirements as well. Beverly Hills likewise, has had an enforcement order on the books.

The governor said OSHA had sent out 350,000 letters to businesses laying out expectations in terms of “good business behaviors…in very , very prescriptive ways.” He revealed 10 state agencies that will be fanning out to encourage compliance, including now the Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists and Consumer Affairs. “If we can’t enforce them through encouragement, we’ll have to lean in a little more.”

Watch Newsom’s Thursday address below.

California now has 240,195 confirmed cases of COVID-19, resulting in 6,163 deaths. The number of COVID-related deaths increased by 73, or 1.2 percent, from Tuesday’s total of 6,090. The number of COVID-19 diagnostic test results in California reached a total of 4,338,718, an increase of 84,542 tests since Tuesday. California’s hospitalizations due to COVID-19 increased by 159 from Tuesday.

This on the same day the U.S. breached the 50,000 new cases per day mark, a rise of more than 25 percent in just six days. And it’s actually worse than that. The exact count on Thursday 54,357 was new COVID-19 cases nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

On Wednesday, Florida, Arizona, California, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas reported a record number of new cases. Florida alone saw over 10,000 cases, a new record. At least 23 states have paused reopening plans in the midst of the surge in infections.

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