COVID-19 State Policy Update 07.06.20

Woman Praying

Today, Monday, July 6, Governor Newsom provided an update on the COVID-19 pandemic, including a recap of enforcement and education efforts over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Governor Newsom began with updating the state’s Monitoring List, as he noted the number of counties on the list has grown from 19 on Friday, July 3, to 23 today. After three consecutive days on the Monitoring List, counties are subject to the new order, which include ceasing all indoor dining in restaurants, bars must close, and no alcoholic beverages may be sold without an accompanying meal. 

Counties added to the list include:

  • Colusa
  • Madera
  • Marin
  • Merced
  • Monterey
  • San Diego 

Counties on the Monitoring List receive technical assistance from the state to address criterion the county attested to and put forward that now needs to be monitored and additional support to come back into compliance with the attestation documents.” The Governor thanked the county public health directors in the counties on the Monitoring List and noted their cooperation, as the state works to help get them back in compliance.

The Governor expressed concern over the growing number of counties on the Monitoring List, as the spread of the virus continues throughout the state but is growing faster in the counties receiving technical assistance. One concern is making sure the counties have the hospital capacity to manage their caseload. Some counties, especially those in more rural areas may not have the surge capacity to effectively manage a growing caseload, so part of the state’s technical assistance includes managing the caseload by transferring some cases to counties with greater capacity. Enforcement efforts are also stepped up in the counties with increasing positive case numbers to ensure businesses are adhering to the orders. 

Links to the new orders for counties on the Monitoring List and the Governor’s additional orders are below.

Updated Guidance Documents

The Governor has ordered everyone to wear a face covering/mask when outside their homes and outdoors when in situations where the minimum physical distance of 6’ is not possible (read more here). Nineteen counties are currently on the state’s Monitoring List (find the Monitoring List here). The new order applies to counties on the Monitoring List for 14 days or longer and requires the closure of bars and indoor operations must cease at dine-in restaurants (find guidance docs here), museums, zoos, family entertainment centers, movie theaters, and card rooms (read more here). Counties on the Monitoring List for three consecutive days, must close bars upon order of the local public health director (read guidance for bar closures here). New guidance documents were also published for other organizations where people gather in larger numbers, including gyms (guidance docs here) and places of worship (guidance docs here). Find guidance documents for all other sectors here.

Enforcement 

The Governor spoke to the stepped-up enforcement effort over the holiday weekend and noted the multi-agency enforcement team now has 10 agencies involved. He stated the teams worked in six regions in the state and focused their efforts in areas known to have restaurants and bars that violate the state orders and counties on the Monitoring List. He noted extra attention was given to making sure restaurants are not operating indoor dining and have set up outdoor dining that meets the social/physical distancing requirements. The teams worked areas where bars are supposed to be closed and made sure if alcohol is sold it is done so only if meals are ordered. The teams also focused on workplace safety orders—

  • Masks required (for staff and patrons)
  • Physical distancing measures are in place
  • Signage regarding mask requirements and physical distancing
  • Occupancy limits are posted
  • Restaurants in counties on the Monitoring List have no indoor dining and no alcohol sold without an accompanying meal

Our focus is to remind people this is again not about when we re-open the economy but ‘how’ we do it—we must do it when it is safe, and we must do it in a way that is safe. We want to educate people, but we will take enforcement action against bad actors. Some fines for citations start low—around $100 but climb to $1,000 or more for repeat offenses. People need to understand we are serious about enforcing the orders to protect public health.” 

The Governor provided some enforcement data, noting the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control visited 5,986 bars and restaurants just over the holiday weekend. The Department of Industrial Relation and Occupational Safety and Health made direct contact with 441,755 businesses, including in-person visits, e-mails, and phone contacts. The Board of Barbering and Cosmetology visited 344 licensees and provided comprehensive safety checklists. He noted the majority of businesses contacted by the enforcement teams corrected their deficiencies immediately. Some citations were issued in a few cases and data regarding those will come later this week. 

We are not coming with a punitive frame, but we are going out with the resolve this moment needs to make sure people are protecting themselves and other to mitigate the spread of the virus.”

The Governor expressed his gratitude to the enforcement team for their hard work and noted they will continue contacting businesses and responding to those places where they receive reports from citizens that there is a business out of compliance.

Agencies on the Enforcement teams include

The enforcement teams are made up of local and state agencies, including: 

The California Highway Patrol www.chp.ca.gov

The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control www.abc.ca.gov

CalOSHA https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/

Board of Barbering and Cosmetologists https://www.barbercosmo.ca.gov/

Department of Business Oversight www.dbo.ca.gov

Department of Consumer Affairs www.dca.ca.gov

Department of Public Health www.cdph.ca.gov

The Weekend Numbers 

Governor Newsom updated the state’s COVID-19 numbers, noting the new cases as of July 4, are 5,700, adding the 7-day average is now 7,876—the highest it has been since the peak of the pandemic in April. Additionally, the Governor expressed concern over the rising positivity rate, noting it is the measure of how fast the virus is spreading. The state’s positivity rate is now 6.8—he noted at the low point (just a few weeks ago) the rate was 4.9 but has been steadily rising. The 7-day positivity rate is now 7.2, which reflects a 39% growth rate in just the past 14 days. The Governor stated he hopes people realize the gravity of these data, as they tell the story of a growing spread—a trend line going in the wrong direction—upward. Hospitalizations are also up with 5,790 people hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19—this is a 50% increase over the past 14 days. The Governor noted that while this number means only about eight percent of the hospital bed capacity is being used, as he noted earlier, in some counties the number of hospitalizations and ICU patients is already stretching their capacity and what we don’t want to see is this trend continue upward, as it could change the surge picture quickly and leave some counties is real danger of exceeding their capacity. 

The time to take this seriously is now. Know that your actions can save lives or cost lives. The numbers are climbing among the younger population, the ones we call the ‘young invincibles’ because they don’t worry about catching this virus and think it’s no big deal. It might not be for you, but what if you are pre-symptomatic and infect someone whose immune system is compromised, and they lose their life to the virus. You don’t want to live with that for the rest of your lifeThere are already 1,706 people in ICUs who are battling COVID-19. We don’t want to see this number grow.”

The Governor introduced a slide that recounted the weekend’s efforts to stop the spread of the virus:

  • Closed state beach parking in Southern California and the Bay Area
  • Launched a multi-agency enforcement team
  • Encourage moving indoor activities outdoors
  • Local city and county closures of beaches and parks
  • New orders for counties on the Monitoring List for three consecutive days
  • Closed bars

The Governor closed by reminding the audience of the seriousness of the issue. He promised a more detailed briefing in the coming days with additional data and opened the floor to questions.

Q&A

The first reporter asked the Governor about federal data that showed businesses he owned received loans. The Governor responded his businesses were put into a blind trust when he took office and told the reporter to direct his question to those who run the businesses.

Another reporter asked if the Governor thinks it’s okay to open some other sectors of the economy such as gyms if the numbers are climbing at such an alarming rate. He responded if people follow the orders and guidelines, yes, it is safe to re-open the economy; however, this requires personal responsibility and now also enforcement.

The third question noted the mortality rate is not that high compared to the fast-growing case numbers. The Governor responded the mortality rate is a lagging data point, so the number we see right now does not correspond directly to the growing case rate. It remains to be seen if the mortality rate stays low—which may tie to the fact that the case numbers are growing among the younger population where the mortality rate from COVID-19 is typically lower.

The fourth question was once again about San Quentin and the inmates with COVID-19 and some accounts that the inmates are not getting the care they need. The reporter asked if the Governor plans to visit the prison. The Governor responded there is an incident command team working specifically on managing the caseload at San Quentin and they take the work very seriously. He said the inmates who have tested positive (1,400 and 150 staff) are all getting the appropriate care, including in hospitals outside the prison, if needed.

The last question was about contact tracing and how it is going. The Governor responded there are now 10,600 contact tracers on the ground doing their job and he promised an update on contact tracing in a future briefing. 

Navigating the COVID-19 Dashboard
The Governor is encouraging Californians to follow their county’s progress via the state’s dashboard, which provides COVID-19 data updates daily (find statewide and county data here). Once in a dashboard report, you may click on individual counties (on the right column) to see county-specific testing and outcome data or hospitalization rates in each county (click here for case statistics); (click here for hospitalization and ICU data).

Key milestones – COVID-19 numbers – as of today (7.6.20)

  • 6,331 deaths, up by 6 overnight or +0.1%; 14-day total 822 up 14.9%
  • 271,684 positive cases - up by 11,529 +4.4%; 14-day total 93,630 up 52.6%
  • The state’s positivity rate increased again; the 7-day positivity rate is 7.2%; and the 14-day positivity rate is 6.8%
  • 4,680,138 tests conducted; 1-day total 113,215; 14-day up 40.5%
    • Latinos continue to have the highest percentage of positive cases at 55.1%; Caucasians 17.2%; Asians 6.3%, and Blacks 4.3%.
  • Hospitalizations for COVID positive is 5,790, up by 121 overnight or 2.1%; 14-day rolling average is 4,901. Suspected patients with COVID-19 is 1,488, up by 8 or +0.5%.
  • The majority of hospitalizations are in LA County 1,969; followed by Orange County 634; Riverside 498; San Bernardino 484; San Diego 374; Kern 210; San Joaquin 158; Stanislaus 154; Sacramento 148; Alameda 146; Fresno 140.
  • ICU – COVID positive patients in ICU is 1,706 down 5 overnight or 0.3%; 14-day rolling average is 1,497, the highest since the pandemic peak in April. Number of suspected COVID-19 in ICU is 231, up by 35 or 17.9%. Available beds statewide is 3,882.
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