Newsom discusses six-step plan to reopen California

Gov. Gavin Newsom
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Gov. Gavin Newsom has put out a roadmap, outlining six steps necessary for California to consider before modifying the current stay-at-home order.

“We laid out six specific indicators that would guide our decision-making, based upon health, science, real data, not politics, not pressure — those indicators create a framework for decision-making,” Newsom said. “I’ve made it clear in the past that we won’t just open things. We’ll have to open things and modify how we conduct our business, how we educate our kids (and) how we take care of our children.”

These six indicators are:

  • The ability to monitor and protect communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating and supporting those who are positive or exposed.
  • The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19.
  • The ability of the hospital and health systems to handle surges.
  • The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand. 
  • The ability for businesses, schools and child care facilities to support physical distancing.
  • The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary.

“Trust is the most important commodity in these conversations,” Newsom said, “building that trust with you … to make sure we’re continuing to practice physical distancing and abiding by these guidelines, recommendations and directives. But, we recognize we’re testing that trust every day because of the deep desire for people to begin to know when they can get back to work, when they can go back out and recreate and enjoy beautiful parks and beaches in the state of California.”

That being said, because California has taken necessary steps in providing alternative care sites — decompressing existing facilities and completing indicator No. 3 — Newsom announced Wednesday the ability to begin scheduling surgeries.

“We will be very thoughtful and judicious about how we do that,” Newsom added. “We will not overload the system at peril of not being able to maintain our surge capacity.”

Testing capabilities remain key in reopening the workforce, and though the state has increased testing abilities from 2,000 per day in March to 16,000 per day currently, the goal is to get to at least 25,000 tests per day by the end of the month, Newsom said.

“Over the next number of months, we want to have a minimum of 60,000 tests (per day) … and that’s a short-term goal,” Newsom added. “We’re hoping to get closer to 80,000.”

In meeting that goal, Newsom announced that President Trump had assured him California would receive 100,000 swabs this week, followed by another 250,000 next week.

“A substantial increase in supply of these swabs will go a long way to give us all more confidence that we can meet some of these testing goals,” Newsom said.

Newsom and Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of California Health and Human Services, also made clear the importance of continuing to identify contacts of those who are positive with COVID-19 to reduce further transmission, as they work to expand California’s contact tracing abilities.

“California county health departments have been running testing, tracking and tracing protocols for some time,” Newsom said. “(So,) we’re not starting our tracing program from scratch. Quite the contrary. You have trained professional workers, local health departments that do this every single day. The question that’s asked of us now is to do it at a scale that we have not seen.”

Still, Newsom wanted to remind California residents that there is no way to predict what the precise timeline for reopening will look like.

“I wish I could prescribe a specific date to say 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.”

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