Governor Newsom Announces Plan to Resume Health Care Delayed as Hospitals Prepared for COVID-19 Surge

23 Apr

California Governor Gavin Newsom, according to a press release, on Wednesday, April 22, announced plans to allow hospitals and health systems to resume delayed medical care, like heart valve replacements, angioplasty, tumor removals, key preventive services and colonoscopies, as the state’s health care delivery systems prepared for a surge of COVID-19 patients, because of progress preparing for the surge, one of six criteria the governor specified for gradually modifying the stay-at-home order.
“From the beginning, I have said California’s decisions will be guided by science, not politics, and that Californians’ health comes first,” the governor said.
“(O)ur health care delivery system has done expanding hospital capacity and reducing the rate of spread of COVID-19, hospitals and health systems can consider resuming medical care that residents have delayed during this crisis… when such care can be delivered safety and with appropriate protections for health care workers. It’s in the best interest of the overall health of our state to allow these procedures to resume when they can be done safely.”
Newsom also announced President Trump has personally committed to sending the state 100,000 testing swabs next week and 250,000 swabs the following week.
The press release also pointed out health officials outlined progress on expanding testing and contact tracing to be able to identify and isolate those with the virus, another criteria Newsom put forward.
To find more on Newsom’s six criteria, read my April 15 story, “California Governor Outlines Criteria for Reopening the Economy.” To find it, scroll down my blog.

Health officials also outlined progress toward the first indicator: expanding testing and contact tracing to be able to identify and isolate those with the virus. To that end, it was announced the state is contracting with Verily, an Alphabet company, in partnership with Community Organized Relief Effort and with support from Rockefeller Foundation and an anonymous donor, to establish six new community testing sites focused on the underserved, like farmworkers and communities of color. Additionally, the state is contracting with OptumServe, to establish an 80 community testing sites, which too will be focused on underserved communities.
“We know that communities of color are disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” said Governor Newsom.
“We must ensure that we are deploying testing equitably in an effort to reduce the higher death rates we are seeing in African American and Latino communities.”
In addition, the state is accelerating equitable COVID-19 testing by aiming to deploy 25,000 tests per day by April 30, establishing an additional 80-100 testing sites and identifying five new high-throughput testing hubs. It is establishing a contact tracing workforce by surveying counties on their capacity, developing a statewide training academy and training 10,000 public health connectors to conduct contact tracing. It is developing isolation protocols and supports by identifying regional alternate isolation sites and building private-public partnerships to support those isolated. And, it is deploying data management system and tools by publishing a symptom-check app, deploying a data management platform and establishing a data dashboard for the public.
The press release also said because “(n)ow that testing has become more widely available across the state… earlier this week (California is) to become the first state to recommend testing of some asymptomatic individuals such as health care workers, first responders and correctional workers.”

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