Governor Newsom Updates California’s Progress Toward Stage 2 Reopening

6 May

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced, Monday, May 4, based on the state’s progress toward meeting the criteria outlined in the Governor’s April 15 press release for reopening the state’s economy, the state will begin to move into Stage 2 modifying the stay at home order Friday, May 8, with guidelines released Thursday, May 7.

Governor Newsom said, “(W)e are in a position to begin moving into our next stage of modifying our stay at home order. But make no mistake – this virus isn’t gone. It’s still dangerous and poses a significant public health risk. As we move into the next stage of reopening, we will do so with updated guidance to help qualifying businesses make modifications needed to lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure to customers and workers. Californians should prepare now for that second stage of reopening.”

The Governor also issued a state “Report Card” for how the state is doing in meeting key measures for moving into Stage 2. California is on schedule regarding stability of hospitalizations, personal protective equipment inventory, health care surge capacity, testing capacity, contact tracing capability and public health guidance in place.

Stage 2 will have two phases, an early and a later.  The early phase, which can begin on Friday, May 8, assuming businesses are able to implement the modifications the guidelines specify, when announced on Thursday, May 7, will be logistics, manufacturing and some retail businesses, like bookstores, clothing stores, florists and sporting goods stores.

The later Stage 2 includes dine-in restaurants, offices and school districts.

While the state will be moving from Stage 1 to Stage 2, counties can choose to continue more restrictive measures in place based on their local conditions. The state expects some counties to keep their stay at home orders in place beyond May 8.

The Governor announced while the state is moving into Stage 2 together, counties can move quicker through Stage 2, if they attest that they meet the state’s readiness criteria. Counties must create and submit a readiness plan which the state will make publicly available.

The Governor signed an executive order directing the State Public Health Officer to establish criteria to determine whether and how, in light of local conditions, local health officers may implement public health measures less restrictive than the statewide public health directives. Counties must meet criteria including demonstrating they have a low prevalence of COVID-19, they meet testing and contact tracing criteria, their health care system is prepared in case they see a sudden rise in cases and they have plans in place to protect vulnerable populations. The state will outline these criteria in the coming days.

Contact tracing enables the state to suppress the spread of the virus to avoid outbreaks and allows us to maintain our health care capacity and confidently modify the stay at home order. To work toward these goals, the Governor announced a partnership with the University of California, San Francisco and University of California, Los Angeles to immediately begin training workers for contact tracing program that will help contain the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic while the state looks to modify the stay at home order. The partnership will include a virtual training academy for contact tracers. The first 20-hour training will begin Wednesday, May 6 with the goal of training 20,000 individuals in two months.

California Department of Public Health Director and state Public Health Officer Dr. Sonia Angell provided more detail of the “Report Card.”  The data in the graph for stability of hospitalizations for the 14 days, starting April 20 and ending May 3 show the total hospitalized declined slightly and the total patients in intensive care units have remained relatively constant; the protective care inventory has now 18.2 million surgical masks, 5.8 million face shields, 7.2 million gloves and hundreds of millions of surgical and N95 masks have been ordered; surge capacity includes 14 facilities statewide ready to accept patients, 2,072 beds ready to accept patients , more than 10,000 ventilators throughout the state not in use and more than 94,000 applications have been received to join the California Health Corps.

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