Newsom on Covid: “There are good things to report”
After what appeared to be a near-lightless holiday season and the start of the New Year, California officials in recent days have been reporting signs that the state’s overwhelming wave of coronavirus has finally subsided – or at least does not get worse.
“There are good things to report,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a video message posted Tuesday night. “We are starting to see some stabilization both in the intensive care units as well as in our positivity rate.”
And he officially announced that a strict stay-at-home order affecting the Sacramento area would be lifted, with immediate effect, due to the expected improvement in the capacity of the area’s intensive care units. This means that some businesses, including hair salons and restaurants with alfresco dining, may be able to reopen.
[Track coronavirus cases and hospitalizations across California.]
It was the first of the four major regions of the state to be allowed out.
Dr Mark Ghaly, Secretary of State for Health and Human Services, told a virtual press conference Tuesday that “the biggest signal to me that things are starting to smooth out and potentially improve “is the flattening rate of state hospital admissions.
New hospitalizations for Covid-19 increased from around 3,500 per day around Jan.5 to 2,500 and 2,600 in the previous two days, he said.
Still, hospitals in the vast Southern California and Central Valley region, both of which are still on stay-at-home orders, are full.
And according to a New York Times database on Tuesday, officials reported that more than 720 people have died from the virus in California – a daily record.
A vaccine update
The state has also fought hard to roll out vaccines, despite what leaders have described for months as a detailed “equity-driven” planning process built on a carefully structured hierarchy of workers and groups. ‘age. As of Tuesday, only a quarter of the state’s available doses had been administered.
On Wednesday, however, Mr Newsom announced the state was opening up vaccine eligibility to anyone 65 and older, as well as building a new system to alert residents when they are eligible to be vaccinated. It should start next week.
“There is no higher priority than effectively and equitably distributing these vaccines as quickly as possible to those facing the most serious consequences,” he said in a statement. “To those who are not yet eligible for vaccines, your turn has come. We are doing everything we can to bring more vaccines to the state. “
Some cities and counties are also expected to open mass vaccination centers, such as at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles – although Los Angeles County is set to continue immunizing only health workers until the end of the month in the month. less.
The move comes shortly after the federal government ordered states to begin using doses of the vaccine reserved for second injections.
[Read the latest story about the shifting federal vaccine rollout guidance.]
UC Davis Health chief executive Dr David Lubarsky said on Tuesday that while Governor Dr Ghaly and others in the state had done their best to navigate a difficult situation, “perfection is the enemy of good “. The top priority should be getting the shots – not spending resources on ensuring people don’t cross the line.
“If you’re so determined to make patient A come before patient B before citizen C, you can’t get people in enough,” he said.
He said the state would be better served by allowing health care providers larger shares of doses to be administered to patients, rather than counties.
Healthcare providers, he said, already have built-in ways to contact regular patients in large groups based on factors such as their age and risk of death. And large healthcare systems in particular can quickly create algorithms to factor in things like zip code, which can indicate whether a patient may live in a particularly vulnerable community.
Dr Lubarsky said that as of Tuesday, about 12,000 of the system’s 13,000 staff had received at least their first doses of vaccine by opening the process, and that patient vaccinations were due to start soon.
“We said, ‘If someone skips the line, shame on them,’” he said. “If they showed us their ID cards and worked in the hospital, it was a bit of an honor system.”
[Read four opinion pieces by experts about how to fix the vaccine rollout.]
As a result, he said, the rate of transmission of Covid-19 among staff has dropped significantly. In recent weeks, an average of 135 employees “caught the Covid and went home”. This week, he said, that number is in the 1920s.
Ultimately, Dr Lubarsky said opening mass vaccination centers and other efforts to expand eligibility were positive steps.
“I think they are 100% going in the right direction,” he said.
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President Trump on Wednesday became the first president in the country’s history to be impeached twice.
In a House led by President Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from San Francisco, 232 members of Congress voted to charge the president with inciting a violent insurgency against the US government.
This list included all Democratic representatives, as well as 10 members of the president’s own party.
Among the Republicans who voted for impeachment was Representative David Valadao, who narrowly took over the Central Valley siege he lost in 2018 in November.
Although he said on twitter that he believed Ms Pelosi had turned “what should be a full investigation into a hasty political coup,” he had to vote according to his conscience.
“His inciting rhetoric was anti-American, heinous and absolutely an impenetrable offense,” Mr. Valadao said. “It’s time to put the country ahead of politics.
Patches – a calico cat believed to have been killed alongside his owner in January 2018 when torrential rains dragged debris over the hills of Montecito in the aftermath of Thomas’ fire – was recently found alive and has been reunited with the partner of its owner, the Associated Press reported.
“While we don’t know exactly what she’s been doing with her life over the past three years, we can see that Patches and Norm are thrilled to be reunited,” said the shelter who found the feline in a article on Facebook.
It could have been heartwarming news for the cats for a day. But then I came across this report from the Sonoma Index-Tribune, about a woman from Glen Ellen who also recently found her cat, Mordecai Jones, who was also lost for about three years, after missing during the 2017 forest fires.
I’m not sure if this confluence of pet-related good fortune is meaningful, but I think this week we’ll take what we can get.
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Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from UC Berkeley and has reported throughout the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles – but she always wants to see more. Follow here or on Twitter.
California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from UC Berkeley.