Gov. Gavin Newsom announced today (April 22) that the state will allow hospitals to resume scheduling surgeries unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic, after original fears that hospitals would be overwhelmed turned out to be incorrect.
Newsom said the state would work with hospitals to schedule procedures like tumor removals and vital organ replacements that his original March 19 stay-at-home order had forbidden.
While he relented on surgeries, the governor made it clear that he is not willing to relax the lockdown, which has cost tens of thousands of jobs and forced businesses to close. Texas, Tennessee and Georgia have already begun to reopen.
“I wish I could prescribe a specific date to say ‘Well, we can turn off the light switch and go back to normalcy,'” Newsom said. “We have tried to make it crystal clear that there is no light switch and there is no date in terms of our capacity to provide the kind of clarity that I know so many of you demand and deserve.”
After a protest against Newsom’s shutdown order at the capitol building in Sacramento on Monday, the CHP announced today that it would no longer grant permits for demonstrations on state property including the capitol. The CHP said the decision was made in the interest of public safety, not in quelling opposition to Newsom’s stay-at-home order.
Newsom said the state intends to ramp up testing statewide for the virus to at least 60,000 tests per day. The state is currently at roughly 16,000 tests per day. Roughly 465,000 residents, about 1% of the state’s population, have been tested, to date, according to Newsom.
To assist with the state’s testing goals, Newsom said President Trump committed to sending a minimum of 100,000 test swabs to California later this week and 250,000 next week. Trump also committed to sending more than 250,000 swabs to the state the following week, according to Newsom, who spoke with Trump this morning.
“That was a very good phone call,” Newsom said “I want to thank the president, not only for being available for a phone call at a moment’s notice, but being willing to directly commit to all of us in the state of California to a substantial increase in supply of theses swabs that will go a long way to give us all more confidence that we can meet some of these testing goals.”
Newsom also said that although the state has several hundred testing sites, some rural areas and urban “black and brown” communities still lack adequate testing infrastructure.
Health officials around the state have confirmed a total of 35,396 coronavirus cases, including 1,354 deaths, according to Newsom. In addition, 1,219 people are in intensive care due to the virus and 3,357 are currently hospitalized across the state. — Bay City News