Gov. Newsom: California Starts Moving Into Phase 2 Reopening This Friday
The top headline of today's briefing by Gov. Gavin Newsom: The state will start moving into Phase 2 this Friday.
Newsom said that means as early as the end of this week, retail can begin to reopen for pickup. This phase includes reopening:
- Curbside retail (Newsom specifically listed clothing, bookstores, music, toys, sporting goods, florists, and others)
- Manufacturing and supply chains that go into retail
A region is eligible for Phase 2, Newsom said, if they have the adequate capacity for:
- contact tracing
- physical distancing
- protecting the most vulnerable residents
Local health officials and county supervisors will need to certify capacity in those areas to make that shift.
"This is an optimistic day," Newsom said. But he later added, "Just because you're open, doesn't mean customers show up."
Newsom stressed the importance of making Californians feel confident and safe about their health needs, which is why modifications are necessary.
Guidelines for modifying the state's stay-at-home orders will be put out this Thursday, with details on the modifications needed to reopen.
Ahead of that release, California Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sonia Angell said guidelines for counties to move faster into Phase 2 will be shared later today. How each county plans for their own readiness will be made public online.
The governor also noted that it's also OK for some areas to be more strict, such as the guidelines set by the Bay Area, Newsom said.
Another important note: Phase 2 does not allow for all businesses to reopen just yet. That includes offices, seated dining at restaurants, and shopping malls, Angell said.
COUNTIES, BUSINESSES THAT AREN'T FOLLOWING STAY-AT HOME ORDERS
When asked about consequences for counties going against state orders and reopening, Newsom said there are situations where enforcement will be necessary, but that they are working with local areas to help them make changes. Without naming the county, he referenced what he said last week about Orange County about admiring the reopening guidelines they had laid out.
The governor mentioned work that the state has done with Orange County to reopen two beaches in Laguna Beach and San Clemente, praising the local plans.
Newsom also addressed some businesses opening early, without permission.
"There may, in some cases, be unfortunate consequences in that," Newsom said. He added that licenses were threatened to be pulled from some bars and restaurant/bars that reopened without permission, leading to 80 businesses being closed once again.
Local areas will not be allowed to start moving past Phase 2, even with certification, Newsom said.
CORONAVIRUS REOPENING REPORT CARD
There are six key metrics on the "State Reopening Roadmap Report Card" shared by Angell during today's state press conference, matching the metrics which the state has shared before. All six metrics were said to be on schedule:
- Stability of Hospitalizations
- Personal Protective Equipment Inventory
- Health Care Surge Capacity
- Testing Capacity
- Contact Tracing Capability
- Public Health Guidance In Place
Angell went into greater depth on the progress made in specific areas.
- Stability of Hospitalizations: Hospitalizations and the numbers in ICUs have been stable, Angell said.
- Personal Protective Equipment Inventory: The state has on hand 18.2 million surgical masks, 5.8 million face shields, and 7.2 million gloves, Angell said — it's also ordered hundreds of millions of surgical and N95 masks.
- Health Care Surge Capacity: There are 14 facilities statewide ready to accept patients, with 2,072 additional available beds, more than 10,000 ventilators not in use throughout the state, and more than 94,000 applications received to be part of the California Health Corps.
- Testing Capacity: The state has met its goal of 25,000 tests per day, with 86 new testing sites focusing on rural, urban, and underserved areas. The state has averaged 25,000 tests over the last seven days, with more than 30,000 per day over the weekend, Newsom said, and more than 768,000 tests conducted thus far.
Newsom said that health care capacity is vital.
"People ask, well why do you have these empty facilities that you've built? Well, we're pleased that they're empty," Newsom said. "We built them in anticipation of a surge that did not materialize because of the stay-at-home order — because of millions of Californians being thoughtful, not only about their own health, but about the community health, and about the physical distancing that allowed that curve not to ever rise to where some of those models suggested."
LATEST CORONAVIRUS, UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS
There were 39 coronavirus deaths over the past 24 hours, Newsom said, lower than any day last week. Another 1,321 people tested positive for COVID-19. Hospitalizations declined by 1%, with ICU patients up 0.9%.
A total of $7.8 billion has been distributed in unemployment and pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) since March 15, Newsom said. He added that the money still isn't being distributed fast enough, and the PUA process has proved frustrating for people applying for it. Newsom described the call volume as "intense," with 4 million claims processed so far.
TRAINING NEW DISEASE DETECTIVES
The state is working with UCLA and UC San Francisco to create a virtual academy to help train new tracers, or "disease detectives," as Newsom described them. There are currently 2,845 people in the tracing workforce in California, mostly done at the local level, he said — the plan is to train more than 3,000 people per week, with 10,000 as the Phase 1 goal and 20,000 as the Phase 2 goal.
The program will be county-led but feed into a central database, Newsom said. It will be focused on health and confidentiality, and it will be confidentially managed, Angell said. The state's data management platform will be free to local public health departments. It will be used to support case investigation and contact tracing, as well as symptom checks by text, chat, email, phone, and an automated system.
The online training academy will be free for participants and free to local health departments, Angell said. The first training in this new 20-hour course goes online on Wednesday, with 12 hours of instruction online and 8 hours in person. Both local and state employees will be re-deployed to be part of this workforce.
Newsom thanked the work on regional variation done by Oregon and Colorado as part of the Western states coalition working on reopening. The partnership has been helpful for California, Newsom said.