Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to ramp up coronavirus testing and contact tracing in California, but said he’s still a long way from sending out a "save the date" to lift the state’s shelter-in-place order.
The governor outlined California’s progress Wednesday in meeting his six benchmarks to reopen the state’s economy. Gov. Newsom said the state has made significant headway on ensuring it has sufficient hospital capacity to meet an anticipated surge in COVID-19 cases, so he will once again allow essential surgeries like cancer operations or heart valve replacements, but not elective cosmetic surgery.
"I wish I could prescribe a specific date to say when we can turn out the light switch and go back to normal," Gov. Newsom said. "We have tried to make it crystal clear that there is no light switch and there is no date."
Not yet, as deadly cases of COVID-19 continue to climb.
As for when the broader restrictions keeping us in our homes or six feet apart might be lifted, Gov. Newsom was cautious.
"There’s no date," Gov. Newsom said. "If there’s a date, then we’re denying the facts on the ground, we’re denying the reality of the spread of the virus, which is dynamic."
Newsom said deaths continue to mount, including earlier ones than previously known, but noted hospitalizations and ICU cases are starting to come down, which is a positive sign.
"Stability is the operative word," Gov. Newsom said. "The indicators show stability, particularly in hospitalization numbers and ICU numbers."
California will get 100,000 swabs from the Trump administration this week to expedite testing. The governor also announced 86 new testing sites in rural areas and black and brown communities, with a goal of testing 25,000 people a day by the end of the month, and an "army" of 10,000 people to trace the known contacts of those who test positive.
Plus, the governor said 1.5 million antibody test kits are on the way to see just how many people were already exposed to COVID-19 without even knowing it.