California has pushed efforts in the last week to procure medical supplies, address at risk populations and set-up alternative care sites to take pressure off healthcare facilities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
We have touched on California’s current reported numbers, ethnicity breakdowns, testing in the state, medical facilities, at risk populations, jobs, businesses and a list of current suspensions and moratoriums.
California’s ‘stay at home’ order has no end date
In a conference today Governor Newsom said there is no prediction when the ‘stay at home’ order will be lifted.
“We talked about those end dates being stretched yesterday based on our models. The answer is easy, it depends on you, it depends on 40 million others in California,” Governor Newsom said. “Their commitment to stay at home orders, commitment to have face coverings and their commitment to social distancing over course of the next few weeks to get over this difficult time and bend that curve. Buy more time and prepare, and then we will be able to answer that question with science”
California currently has 17,679 confirmed cases and 453 deaths according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
April 7 saw the highest death rates for California with 68 deaths over the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 442 deaths.
Governor Newsom gave the following numbers based on positive tests, ICU and hospitalized patients today.
- Positive Patients – 16,957
- ICU Population – 1,154 (4.2% increase from yesterday)
- Hospitalized Population – 2,714 (3.9% increase from yesterday)
37% Sample Size
Governor Newsom said the numbers are based on about 37% of all total data. This sample size covers 16,957 positive patients and contains 6,306 analyzed cases for total positive patients and total deaths.
“Based on 37% of our data that is in, I caution you, data is limited to that current sample size. We will get more of that information in,” Governor Newsom said.
Governor Newsom addressed data concerns about ethnicity breakdowns, again warning that the data is derived from a sample set of 6,306 patients.
- Hispanic / Latinx – 30% positive patients with 29% deaths
- African American – 6% positive patients with 3% deaths
- Asian – 14% positive patients with 16% deaths
Testing centers have popped up in California byway of official and private channels. Criticism of Governor Newsom centered around a Californian’s lack of access to testing.
Less than one half of 1% of California’s population has been tested and Governor Newsom acknowledged the slow response in a press briefing on April 4.
“I own that. I have a responsibility as your governor to do better,” the governor said.
As of April 4 California’s backlog of tests was cut by more than two-thirds.
According to The Atlantic “In the meantime, California has completed fewer tests per capita than the country’s next five-largest states—and fewer tests per capita than any of the 34 states that regularly report their full testing data. New York has tested 13 times more people, on a per capita basis.”
California has ranked 46 in the state for 1 test per million. All testing is done through Labcorp.
Immigrant Testing Protection
Governor Newsom stated that California is rolling out an initiative to allow immigrants to be tested without repercussions at hospitals, emergency rooms and community clinics.
“We are doing a presumption of eligibility regardless of your immigration status. If you end up in the emergency room or if you go to a hospital you can go for treatment . THat is not case at a community clinic,” the governor said. “We are providing presumptive eligibility regardless of your immigration status at our community clinics.”
Alternative Care Sites
California has declared 13 alternative care sites to be used for patients during Covid-19.
California has been working closely with hospitals to aggressively expand our state’s ability to treat the coming surge in COVID-19 patients,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “As a result, California is adding tens of thousands more hospital beds, sourcing and distributing lifesaving medical supplies and ventilators, and significantly expanding our health care workforce. This is an all hands on deck effort, and I am extremely grateful to all of our partners in the medical community, the private sector and across government for helping us get this far. All of these efforts will only pay off if we continue to slow the spread of the virus. Staying home will save lives.”
The alternative care sites are listed below.
- Eight federal medical stations operating or being set up across the state, each with a maximum of 250 beds;
- The former Sleep Train Arena, which has a maximum capacity of 400 beds;
- Fairview Developmental Center, with a maximum capacity of 520 beds;
- Porterville Developmental Center, with a maximum capacity of 246 beds;
- San Carlos Hotel, with a maximum capacity of 120 beds; and
- CPMC – Pacific Campus, with a maximum capacity of 291 beds.
Governor Newsom also has secured through the state two leases for hospitals and the use of a naval medical ship.
- Seton Medical Center in Daly City, which has a maximum capacity of 220 beds;
- St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles, which has a maximum capacity of 266 beds; and
- USNS Mercy, which has an easily-accessible maximum capacity of up to 550 beds. (Note: USNS Mercy has a capacity of 1,000 bunk beds).
California’s Lead for Medical Supplies
Yesterday Governor Newsom said that California has secured a monthly supply of 200 million N95 respiratory and surgical masks to help protect healthcare workers and other essential personnel.
California previously added 500 ventilators to the national stockpile for other states to utilize and has begun securing equipment and PPE from outside sources.
“We decided enough’s enough. Let’s use the power, the purchasing power of the state of California, as a nation-state,” Newsom told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. “We did just that. And in the next few weeks, we’re going to see supplies, at that level, into the state of California and potentially the opportunity to export some of those supplies to states in need.”
Governor Newsom addressed his exclamation of ‘enough is enough’ from last nights interview with Rachel Maddow.
“Enough enough is a reference to going in the direction we were going in, and that is one- offs. ‘I got 500,000 masks, I have 1 million, I have 250,000 masks,’ that were chasing these things,” the governor said. “We were running into walls and each other so California decided to step back from all of that. As a nation state we’re in a position to do something bold and big as a catalyst to increase supply and procure with more certainty.”
Governor Newsom said that California has a sufficient amount of ventilators and is opening up new channels to secure medical equipment and PPE to be distributed throughout the country and possibly the globe.
“We are not just looking at supplies in a scarce marketplace where it’s a zero sum game. California has been a catalyst to increase supply broadly across the country and potentially other parts of the globe. That’s how we see our role, as a catalyst, advancing the framework of collaboration,” Governor Newsom said.
Director of Emergency Services Mark Ghilarducci stated The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been working with California to coordinate the distribution of PPE to areas that are in the most need.
New Technology to Re-use Masks
There is a new technology coming to California within the next week that will allow N95 masks to be sanitized and re-used. The technology comes from Battelle, a technology defense contract company in the U.S.A.
Director of Emergency Services Mark Ghilarducci said the machines will go on the ground and bring used sterilized N95 mask back too healthcare workers. The technology has been approved by the FDA and the CDC.
“This will utilize the PPE that has been used, that’s met the criteria to bring it to this center. The center will then sterilize these masks and be able to re-purpose them back into the field again,” Mark Ghilarducci said.
Governor Newsom said there will be six units than can sterilize and re-use one mask upwards of 20 times. The technology is expected to sterilize up to 80,000 masks a day.
At Risk Populations
Governor Newsom signed an executive order to expand support for vulnerable populations concerning the elderly and children. This order runs in harmony with Project Roomkey which focuses on sheltering California’s homeless population.
“Mark Ghaly and his team, this is their top priority in this state. To provide as much support and resources and alternate facilities to isolate and help and support individuals,” Newsom said.
The order will allow for a 60-day waiver for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program caseworkers to continue their work and be able to care for older adults, as well as individuals with disabilities.
Project Roomkey is an initiative to help the homeless population during Covid-19. The initiative will focus on acquiring 1,305 trailers and 15,000 hotel and motel rooms for the isolation of homeless people.
“Homeless Californians are incredibly vulnerable to COVID-19 and often have no option to self-isolate or social distance,” said Governor Newsom. “By helping the most vulnerable homeless individuals off the street and into isolation, California can slow the spread of COVID-19 through homeless populations, lower the number of people infected and protect critical health care resources. We’re working hard with our county partners to get these hotels up and running as rapidly as possible.”
Through Project Roomkey, the state will provide dedicated support teams to counties, including assistance in identifying hotels, negotiating and executing operating agreements, and providing the local providers technical assistance in keeping the records necessary to receive federal reimbursement.
Local governments are able to utilize the $150 million in emergency homeless aid that Governor Newsom and the Legislature made available to combat COVID-19 and will receive 75 percent cost-share reimbursement from FEMA.
Jobs & Unemployment
California has seen 2.4 million applicants for unemployment insurance since March 12.
A government job site put up a few days ago, OnwardCA.Org, and has already received traffic from 170,000 people.
California has waved the waiting period to file unemployment.
“50 million dollars is in the process of putting IBank together. These are micro loans for people falling through the cracks and we will consider those extras and many others as we process this.”
California is currently giving a 90-day extension to file tax returns and tax payments for small businesses.
California also has a unemployment insurance work sharing program available for businesses experiencing a slow down from Covid-19.
Moratoriums & Suspensions
- Governor Newsom put a moratorium on evictions that will last through May 31.
- 90-day grace period for mortgages.
- Water Shut offs are banned from lack of payment.
- Food and medical supplies may only have a 10% markup to prevent price gouging.
- Mass gatherings are to be postponed or cancelled.
- 90-day extension to file tax returns.
- DMV gives 60-day extensions for in-person visits.
“I wanna thank everybody for staying safe, staying home and practicing social distancing,” Governor Newsom said.
Watch Governor Newsom’s California Covid-19 update on the California All Facebook.