Newsom urges residents to be safe as COVID-19 cases increase 69% in two days

Gov. Gavin Newsom

After a 69% statewide increase in new COVID-19 cases in 48 hours, Gov. Gavin Newsom urged Californians Wednesday to keep themselves and others safe as communities further their reopening.

“The reality is, I’m not naive — people are mixing, and that is increasing the spread of this virus. As we not only reopen our economy but we begin to reopen our households and we begin to go back to our old ways and our old habits, a consequence is, we are spreading this virus,” Newsom said during a live broadcast. 

Tuesday saw 7,149 new cases reported statewide, a jump from the 5,019 reported Monday and 4,230 on Sunday, he said. 

The increase is not solely attributed to more testing but also in the positivity rate, a percentage that represents the number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19, which increased from 4.6% to 5.1% over the past week. In late March and early April, the rate was 40.8%, Newsom added. 

Hospitalizations have also increased by 29%, from 3,177 to 4,095 individuals, and ICU hospitalizations rose 18% in the past 14 days. Despite the hike, Newsom said he’s confident hospitals statewide can meet the needs, adding that more than 11,500 ventilators are now available within California’s hospital system. 

A large portion of new cases is attributed to the Bay Area, which is among the last to reopen, the governor said. Los Angeles County, because of its size and scale, remains a focus area for the state as cases also continue to increase. COVID-19 data from protesters “are still coming in,” said Newsom. 

“We’re just encouraging people to do the right thing,” Newsom said, noting an increase in diagnoses for young people, as well, as more people return to work, shop and partake in activities outside their homes. 

“Wear face coverings, practice physical distancing, read the guidelines that we put out to help support safely (reopening the) economy. It’s not a binary choice. It’s not about shutting down the world’s fifth-largest economy or advancing these efforts. We can do both,” said Newsom. “I cannot impress upon you more to focus on how to safely reopen.” 

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