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Gov. Newsom Reports ICU Hospitalizations Went Up 105% Overnight


Gov. Gavin Newsom today reported sobering COVID-19 numbers from overnight in California.

  • ICU numbers went up 105% overnight
  • Hospitalization went up 38.6%
  • 200 COVID-19 patients were in the ICU yesterday; 410 today.

Newsom said those were the key numbers he checks every morning as he works to mobilize the state's response to the pandemic. He noted that the totals, compared to other hot spots, seemed "relatively modest. But the percentage increase was not."

"I know there's a lot of appropriate attention on how many positives there are," Newsom said. "We look less to those numbers, more to the hospitalization and the ICU numbers to drive our policy."

He also reported:

  • 4,000 people are waiting for their test results to find out if they are positive.
  • The state has procured and/or identified 4,252 ventilators; 1,000 of those need to be refurbished. The goal is to get to 10,000.
  • California has been able to secure 101 million N95 masks from around the world.

He spoke in a live streamed news conference after touring Bloom Energy, which has pivoted from making fuel cells to refurbishing ventilators. Located in Sunnyvale, the facility has transformed its production facility so it can refurbish old ventilators that the state had held in storage.

Newsom said the capacity of private industry to meet key supply needs, from ventilators to masks and hospital gowns, will play a critical role in how Californians fare as more people are sickened.

"We can bend those curves by bending to the entrepreneurial capacity that we know resides within this state and across the nation," he said.

Newsom was joined by San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo.

The governor was asked about criticism that his recent statewide eviction moratorium didn't go far enought. Newsom indicated he could go bigger on those orders.

"To the extent that we see conditions changing in real time, we have the capacity in real time to go even further," Newsom said. He praised the mayors of L.A., San Francisco and San Jose for their efforts to protect tenants in this emergency.

We were able to ask a question about what workers should do if they're concerned that their employers aren’t following state orders or aren’t taking proper precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Newsom said anyone with such concerns should contact the Labor Commissioner’s Office.


LA Passes New Rules To Protect Grocery Store Employees & Delivery Drivers

Jameson Carbonneau loads cooked meals from the Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood, California for delivery on March 16, 2020 (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Along with health care workers and first responders, grocery store employees and delivery drivers are among the people shouldering the most risk during the coronavirus pandemic. On Friday, the city of Los Angeles gave these essential workers new job protections.

The rules apply to grocery store employees, drug stores employees and people who work for "food delivery platforms" such as Instacart, Amazon Fresh, Postmates, Uber Eats, Grub Hub and Doordash.

The new rules require employers to let employees reschedule their shifts if they need to care for their children or for sick or elderly members of their immediate family. Employers must also approve time-off requests by employees who feel ill or exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.

In addition, employers must offer additional hours to current employees — unless it would put them into overtime — before hiring a new employee, contract worker or temporary worker.

Food delivery apps must allow their drivers a “no-contact' method of delivering food and provide written guidelines on how to do this safely.

Finally, when employees opt to use these provisions, employers can't retaliate against them by firing them, reducing their pay, cutting their work hours or discriminating against them in any other way.

These provisions will remain in effect until both California's governor, Gavin Newsom, and L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti lift their emergency orders.


LA City Council Passes More COVID-19 Protections for Workers, Renters

A nearly empty chamber for Friday's special (and marathon) remote L.A. City Council meeting. Screenshot of streamed meeting

In a marathon meeting Friday, the Los Angeles City Council passed a round of emergency measures intended to add protections for renters and workers at large businesses struggling during the pandemic.

The city now requires businesses with over 500 employees to provide 80 hours of paid leave that workers can use to recover from COVID-19 or care for their family. This category of employers had been exempted from the federal coronavirus sick leave bill signed into law last week.

The council, however, opted to follow Congress’ example and exempt businesses with 50 employees or less from its paid leave mandate. The exemption was made after small business owners complained to the council that mandating the sick leave would "bankrupt every restaurant, bar and retail store in Los Angeles and the related businesses that depend on them," according to a letter from Hunter Hall, a principal at Archetype Hospitality & Development.

"They will never be able to reopen if they are forced to pay what is effectively a 2-week severance to every single employee because they were forced to shut down," Hall wrote.


The council also expanded the length of time renters can pay back rent that goes unpaid during the coronavirus outbreak -- from the six months originally proposed by Mayor Eric Garcetti to a year.

And the council expanded eviction protections during the outbreak to include tenants who exceed the number of people allowed in a unit, the LA Times reported.

The 11-hour meeting was conducted over Zoom to minimize the chance of spreading the virus at City Hall, with Martinez the only councilmember present in council chambers.

City Hall reporters found themselves in a brave new world of political reporting as they watched the councilmembers orating from inside their homes:

The Zoom council meeting had to be halted at one point because some in the audience were posting pornographic images.

WATCH: Friday's Top Headlines In 5 Minutes


I’m Adriene Hill, the managing editor here. Happy Friday! Enjoy your weekend, at a proper social distance.

We had another very busy week of news but our goals remained the same: stay calm, answer your questions and explain what’s happened and what’s likely coming next. Here are some of the top stories we’re covering as the COVID-19 pandemic reshapes life here in Southern California and beyond.

PBS SoCal Chief Creative Officer Juan Devis and I talk with:

About this project: The KPCC + LAist newsroom is working together with PBS SoCal and KCET to get our reporting out to a wide audience.

How Long Does My Disinfectant Wipe Work?

(@kellysikkema via Unsplash)

Note: Here at LAist we've been answering your question for weeks (more than 700 of them personally). Our friends at NPR are also fielding inquiries weekly as the new coronavirus continues its spread in nearly every nation, bringing illness or death to many thousands of people.

Q: I like to use wipes to disinfect surfaces in my home — especially surfaces that are frequently touched. But how much surface area can one wipe be used on before it loses its ability to kill the coronavirus?

A: The first step is to check the label on the wipes you're using. For instance, the label on a container of Clorox wipes instructs: "Use enough wipes for treated surface to remain visibly wet for 4 minutes. To kill viruses, let stand 15 seconds."

That time and that visible wetness is important, says Erica Hartman, an expert in environmental microbiology at the Northwestern University McCormick School of Engineering.

Regardless of the particular ingredients in the wipes you're using, "they're all chemicals that have to react," she says. "And those chemical reactions aren't instantaneous — they take a certain amount of time. So what you're doing when you're keeping the surface wet is you're basically allowing time, allowing the chemical reactions to take place."

So if that Clorox wipe isn't making the surface visibly wet for 4 minutes, you're trying to cover too much ground with one wipe.

There's no exact figure for how much surface area a wipe can handle. But a 2018 study that found one wipe is generally more effective over 1 to 2 square feet than 8 square feet.

And you don't need a pre-made wipe to clean surfaces: You can also use a liquid product on a cloth or paper towel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises using products that that contain bleach (sodium hypochlorite) or alcohol (at least 70%), and following the manufacturer's directions. You can make your own cleaning solution by mixing 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water, according to the CDC.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has posted a list of approved products to disinfect against the coronavirus.


Map: Worldwide COVID-19 Cases Pass 664K. LA County Reports 344 New Cases


Note on the data you see when clicking on a bubble: Confirmed cases include presumptive positive cases | Recovered cases outside China are estimates based on local media reports, and may be substantially lower than the true number | Active cases = total confirmed - total recovered - total deaths.


This post is no longer being update. Get the latest tracking numbers here >>


California Gov. Gavin Newsom had sobering news Saturday, saying patients needing ICU care in the state had gone up 105% overnight and hospitalizations for COVID-19 patients had risen nearly 40%.

Newsom spoke Saturday from of a Bay-area fuel cell plant that's now working to refurbish ventilators. He said the state now has more than 400 COVID-19 ICU patients. He called that number "relatively modest" but warned that as new confirmed cases continue the percentage increase was of deep concern.

The uptick in California cases came as the U.S. and Italy are now both reporting more confirmed COVID-19 cases than China, where the outbreak began late last year. The U.S. is now reporting more than 124,000 cases of the 664,924 worldwide as of 10 p.m. Saturday.

As of Saturday afternoon, L.A. County is reporting more than 1,800 cases with 22% of patients requiring hospitalization.

And the local mortality rate continues to tick up. Earlier in the week, it was 1%, then 1.6% and as of yesterday was at 1.8%. That rate is higher than the nationwide average and significantly higher than what we experience with annual flu cases. Keep in mind, it partially reflects the who is being tested at this point.

The county reported 344 new confirmed cases Saturday. That includes six new COVID-19 related deaths.


The U.S. is among a number of countries experiencing large-scale outbreaks. The map at the top of this post shows cumulative confirmed cases, deaths and recoveries and is updated in near real-time throughout the day. Zoom out to see more of the world.

As of 10 p.m. Saturday, here are the total confirmed cases for the 10 countries currently facing the worst outbreaks. [Note: For the first time since we've been posting these numbers the Netherlands is in the top 10, dropping South Korea to 11th]:

  1. 124,665 United States | pop. 327M
  2. 92,472 Italy | pop. 60.6M
  3. 82,057 China | pop. 1.4B
  4. 73,235 Spain | pop. 47M
  5. 57,695 Germany | pop. 83M
  6. 38,105 France | pop. 65M
  7. 35,408 Iran | pop. 82M
  8. 17,312 United Kingdom | pop. 67M
  9. 14,076 Switzerland | pop. 8.5M
  10. 9,819 Netherlands | pop. 17M

These numbers are changing rapidly and experts have warned that confirmed cases are far under the actual total of infected individuals. For more detail check the full tracker, which includes death tolls and projections of cases on the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering site. Engineers there are collecting data from:


Statewide, our friends on the L.A. Times data desk are tracking cases in California by surveying "numbers released by the dozens of local health agencies across the state." As of 10:30 p.m. Saturday, the newspaper is reporting California has:

  • 5,683 confirmed cases
  • 121 deaths

[Note: If you hit a paywall on the full tracker, please consider subscribing. They have a $1 for eight weeks special. We don't have a paywall but we do count on member support to run our newsroom.]


Health officials here continue to stress that they are seeing most cases in people under the age of 65. L.A. County's Public Health director Barbara Ferrer has said 80% of the cases have been people between 18-65, and 42% have been people between 18-40.

Earlier this week, when the local mortality rate was at 1%, Ferrer told us:

"You can imagine if we have thousands and thousands and thousands of people infected, then 1% becomes a large number. And every single person who dies like that's a story, that's a loved one. That's a person who other people care about and they're gonna miss."

Current as of Saturday


  • 1,804 cases
  • 32 deaths*

* An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported 232 deaths. See more from L.A. County


  • 403 cases
  • 4 death

* More from Orange County


  • 195 cases
  • 8 deaths

* More from Riverside County


  • 98 cases
  • 3 death

* More from Ventura County


  • 76 cases
  • 3 death

* More from San Bernardino County


As new cases continue to be confirmed, Californians are a week into "safer at home" and "social distancing" orders. Last Thursday, state and county officials ordered the vast majority of Californians to strictly limit interactions with other people, wash hands frequently, and stay six feet away from others.

Remember, the goal of social distancing is to "flatten the curve" of COVID-19's spread.

Source: CDC, Drew Harris (Connie Hanzhang Jin/NPR)

The more we can slow the rate of infection, the less overwhelmed the hospital system will be.

Here's a look at nine scenarios over six, nine, and 12 months from our friends at ProPublica:

(Courtesy of ProPublica)

And here's the impact on California hospitals:

(Courtesy of ProPublica)


We're all living through this extraordinary and frightening pandemic. The vast majority of our newsroom has been working from home (here's some advice on that) since March 11 to bring you calm, helpful reporting. We are answering your questions and taking more.

We're here to help. And if you can help support that effort financially, we'd be grateful.


Get our daily newsletter for the latest on COVID-19 and other top local headlines.

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Support our free, independent journalism today. Donate now.

Morning Briefing: Vin Scully: 'Above All, Try To Smile'


The coronavirus is personal; it infiltrates families, friend groups and communities. So, we’re getting personal, too — we’re bringing you the story of "Jack," a warehouse worker who’s scared for his safety on the job. We’re bringing you the story of street artists who are risking their health to create. And we’re bringing you the stories of Olympic athletes staying focused, grassroots fundraising for hospital workers, and a message from Vin Scully, the man L.A. has turned to for decades as a voice of wisdom, humanity… and hope.

Here’s what happened in the past 24 hours:

Here’s what we’re covering today:

  • Elina Shatkin explains what we do and don't know about the transmission of coronavirus via food.
  • Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area park rangers will lead a virtual discussion on mountain lions to mark the recapturing of P-19, a 10-year-old mountain lion, to replace her GPS radio-collar.
  • Now that most trails and recreation facilities throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties are closed to the public (this is why we can't have nice things), Southern Californians, people will have to explore the outdoors vicariously, through live camera feeds like these, rounded up by Christine N. Ziemba

Here are some non-COVID-19 reads:

  • In 1968, Harriet Glickman wrote to “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz asking him to do something remarkable at the time: integrate his famous comic strip. She died Friday at her home in Sherman Oaks, at the age of 93.
  • Federal prosecutors said today that former L.A. City Councilman Mitch Englander has "agreed to plead guilty to a federal criminal charge stemming from his obstruction of a public corruption investigation."
  • Judge David Carter is interested in expanding Mayor Eric Garcetti’s plan to use city recreation centers as shelters for the homeless, by using public park space around the centers as de facto safe-camping zones for homeless people.

And now, your moment of Zen:

Hummingbirds feed at Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, with downtown Los Angeles as their backdrop on Friday.

(Mark J. Terrill/AP)

Help us cover your community:

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  • Have a tip about news on which we should dig deeper? Let us know.

The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft.


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