COVID-19 Pandemic Update April 21 by SMC Supervisor David Canepa

South San Francisco, CA   April 23, 2020

Good evening (April 21),

This afternoon, Governor Newsom provided his daily update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, prefacing the conversation with the following, “for those who woke up today expecting that we will be opening up large sectors of the economy, you will be left wanting.” Despite mounting public pressure to provide a specific timeline, California does not yet have a definitive date to ease coronavirus shelter-at-home restrictions, as the six indicators originally outlined for reopening the state have yet to be realized.

The governor did, however, announce a first step toward loosening coronavirus restrictions, a health first announcement in real time – hospitals can begin scheduling essential surgeries once again. Essential surgeries such as tumor removals, issues related to chronic disease, and heart valve replacements, were provisionally prohibited to make more resources accessible for responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

Newsom also announced an expansion of coronavirus testing capability throughout California, stating the findings will be crucial in deciding when to ease the state’s strict stay-at-home order and allow people to return to work. In a conversation with and a promise from the President, California has secured a minimum of 100,000 swabs which will be forthcoming to California this week, with an additional 250,000 swabs set to arrive next week, followed by a substantial increase over 250,000 for the third week. Additionally, Newsom made a commitment for all Californians to be tested, referring to testing in all communities, rural and remote, black and brown. Per that commitment, 86 new testing sites will become operational, creating a robust, inclusive and comprehensive testing network across the state. California should be able to reach 25,000 tests each day by the end of April, with an ultimate goal of administering 60,000 to 80,000 tests, daily.

California’s Health & Human Services Secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly, joined Governor Newsom in speaking to the Administration’s commitment to increased testing. Dr. Ghaly highlighted one of the six key indicators necessary for altering the stay-at-home orders – the ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contract tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed. Per Dr. Ghaly, addressing this first indicator requires several questions to be addressed: 1) how prepared is our state to test everyone who is symptomatic; 2) do we have the ability to identify contacts of those who are positive to reduce further transmission; and, 3) isolation protocols and supports must be developed, and a data management system and tools must be deployed. California is working on the ability to track COVID-19 cases by training 10,000 workers to track not just those who are infected, but also those with whom they may have had close contact.

Newsom assured Californians there will be more details to come next Wednesday when he gives another update centered on any advancements of the six indicators made within the next week, and therefore, the state’s progress towards to getting back up and running. In the meantime, “If there’s a date, then we’re denying the facts on the ground,” says Newsom, “stability is the operative word.”

Additional information from today’s COVID-19 announcements can be found below.

Please continue to reach out to your PS team lead with specific questions.

Thank you.

MemorialCare: Today’s helper story comes to us from Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Long Beach, one of the state’s eight freestanding children’s hospitals, and part of the MemorialCare health system in Southern California.

Normally, Dr. Kevin O’Brien he can be found caring for critically-ill patients in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach (MCWHLB), but for the last two weeks, he’s had a different title – volunteer physician at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, New York. Elmhurst Hospital is located in the state that has quickly become the epicenter for COVID-19 in America.

Dr. O’Brien is assigned to a COVID-19 unit, which is considered a Zone 3 unit always requiring full PPE. This unit is a 40-bed converted medical intensive care unit, which has all ventilated COVID-19 positive patients.

Dr. O’Brien is on one of the four teams assigned to patient care, in which he helps with ventilator checks, cuff pressure checks, among many other critical duties. He continues to share updates with his PICU colleagues back in California and reflects on his pride for his team at MCWHLB.

“I speak highly of our unit and how blessed I am to work with everyone back at Miller Children’s & Women’s”, says Dr. O’Brien. “I discuss our nursing-driven rounds and how respiratory therapists initiate SBT (spontaneous breathing trials) based on criteria. They are very interested and impressed.”

The MemorialCare team, and those of us at Political Solutions, are proud of Dr. O’Brien for his courage and determination to help those most in need, and for representing MCWHLB in the national medical community.

General Update

Governor’s Daily Press Conference
Indicator #1: Expanding testing and contact tracing to be able to identify and isolate those with the virus.

Today, California is in the position to begin to lean in by beginning to schedule essential surgeries once again. These surgeries include those related to tumors, heart valve replacements, chronic conditions, and other. The Administration is working with health care directors across the state to reintroduce the capacity to get surgeries up and running, keeping in mind that this can be adjusted, as necessary, should hospitals experience an influx of COVID-19 cases.

Indicator, testing and tracing becomes foundational when discussing the opportunity to reopen retail establishments, restaurants, etc.
To date, roughly 465,000 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in California. Currently, around 16,000 tests are being done daily, with that capacity increasing to 25,000 per day by end of month. Health Officials indicate the goal is to reach more than 60,000 tests being conducted on a daily basis, and with the swab-based test, California will have the capacity to get up to 95,000 tests daily.

The state is significantly increasing the number of available testing sites, with 250 core sites that make up the backbone of the testing system, increasing to 600 sites across the state.

In a conversation with the President, Newsom has secured a commitment for a minimum of 100,000 swabs to arrive in California within the week, an additional 250,000 swabs the following week, and an even greater number to arrive in three weeks.

1.5 million serological tests have been conducted. The Stanford tests have generated a lot of controversy, there are still some open-ended questions around antibodies and immunity. While the information from this study could be helpful in terms of reopening, it is not a panacea.
The Administration is working to establish a contact tracing workforce by surveying counties on their capacity; developing a statewide training academy; and training 10,000 public health connectors to conduct contact tracing.

Health Officials are developing isolation protocols and supports by identifying regional alternate isolation sites and building private-public partnerships to support those who are isolated.
Additionally, the state is deploying a data management system and tools by publishing a symptom-check app; deploying a data management platform; and establishing a data dashboard for the public.

General Information
There was a modest decrease in last 24 hours of hospitalization numbers: 0.24% decrease in hospitalizations and 2.4% decrease in ICU cases.

The state is in pursuit of additional PPE, as California needs to have significant amounts in order to move forward with modifying the stay at home orders.

The Administration has asked local coroners to go back as early as December, to help guide a deeper understanding of when this pandemic began to impact California directly.

EDD and Unemployment Insurance applications and wait times are improving, but there are still some gaps in the system. EDD has added more than 1,000 additional support staff just for this purpose.

California’s consumer COVID-19 website continues to be updated daily and is now available in Spanish, as well as English. Those seeking more information are encouraged to visit the site, or call the state’s toll-free hotline (1-833-544-2374), which makes available the same information for those who lack internet access. The hotline is available in both Spanish and English.

Local Government Directives Update

Today, Napa County updated their local shelter at home order. The amended Shelter-At-Home Order requires continued compliance with the orders issued on March 20, 2020 and amended on April 3, 2020.

The order includes the following revisions:
Strong recommendation of the wearing of face coverings while in public settings.
Permits all construction with proper physical distancing protocols.

Permits drive-in religious services with proper physical distancing protocols.

Permits In-Person real estate agent-client residential viewings with proper protocols.

Permits landscaping and gardening maintenance (originally order only allowed for safety/sanitation purposes) that is not purely for cosmetic purposes.

Allows the use of golf courses and driving ranges with documented protocols that are outlined Appendix C of the revised order.

Restricts bocce ball and cornhole sports.

Empowers the police chiefs and city attorneys to ensure compliance of all aspects of this order within their jurisdiction.

Political Solutions has compiled a rolling list of the counties and cities that have adopted additional provisions for business and individuals to abide by within each county. Most counties have issued orders limiting travel to “essential travel” with some limiting travel to only within the county.

Local governments that have issued additional directives, have also given authority to their local law enforcement agencies for purposes of enforcement, with violations carrying a potential misdemeanor charge, most punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 a day and or 6 months in jail. Most local governments are emphasizing voluntary compliance, however have stressed they will begin to enforce any intentional non-compliance.

Many local governments have shifted to a work from home system, and have closed government buildings to the public with basic, essential government services still being provided

It is also important to note that some local governments have not issued new directives since the Governor’s orders for a statewide shelter in place, so some orders on the county level may not be as stringent as what statewide orders are. Businesses and individuals should comply with whatever is the most stringent requirement. Many counties and cities have issued orders to prevent tenant evictions both residential and commercial during the declared emergency, those that have not are subject to the statewide order.

As of March 31st, Bay Area Counties have restricted and redefined essential businesses and are requiring all Essential Businesses to implement Social Distancing Protocol and provide evidence of its implementation to any enforcement authority. The Social Distancing Protocol as applicable must include standards that limit the number of people that enter in a facility to maintain social distancing, markers in six foot increments for an lines that are formed, provide hand sanitizing options for use by the public and employees. Additionally, essential businesses must when feasible provide contactless payments, regularly disinfect high-touch surfaces and post a sign visible prior to entering a facility regarding restrictions on entering if an employee or customer has symptoms. It is very likely that we will begin to see other counties and local jurisdictions issue similar orders.

Business Update

As both the Federal and State governments continue to make resources available for small businesses, Political Solutions recognizes the benefit of having all available information in one place for our clients. To that end, please find the list below with all links to all current, available information on resources for small businesses at this time. Please note, many of these links are updated frequently as more information becomes available.

CA State Treasurer’s Small Business Resource List
Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance
Business Resources & SCORE Operations Update
EDD Resources for Employees with Reduced Hours/Those Getting Laid Off
Employee Paid Sick Leave Info
Go-BIZ: Coronavirus-2019 | California
CDC Guidance for Businesses and Employers
OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
Labor & Workforce Development Agency Guidance

COVID-19 By the Numbers in CA
The following information is current as of 2pm on April 21, 2020. California now has 35,396 confirmed cases and 1,354 deaths. Your local jurisdictions may have more updated numbers pertinent to your area. Additionally, the state now has available a breakdown of COVID-19 cases and statistics by county.

Testing in California
As of April 21, more than 308,700 tests had been conducted in California. At least 301,547 results have been received and another 7,200 are pending. These numbers include data California has received from commercial, private and academic labs, including Quest, LabCorp, Kaiser, University of California and Stanford, and the 22 state and county health labs currently testing.

Health Care Worker Infection Rates
To date, local health departments have reported 3,877 confirmed positive cases in health care workers. This includes on-the-job exposures, and other exposures, such as travel and close family contact. As testing capacity continues to increase, and more tests are being conducted directly in physician’s offices and processed through commercial laboratories, local public health officials will not be able to report the source of exposure for every affected health care worker.

Racial Demographics – A More Complete Picture
The California Department of Public Health is committed to health equity and collecting more detailed racial and ethnic data that will provide additional understanding for determining future action. Health outcomes are affected by forces including structural racism, poverty and the disproportionate prevalence of underlying conditions such as asthma and heart disease among Latinos and Black Californians. Only by looking at the full picture can we understand how to ensure the best outcomes for all Californians.

The differences in health outcomes are most stark in our COVID-19 death rates. We have nearly complete data on deaths, and we are seeing these trends. Overall, for adults 18 and older, Latinos, African Americans and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are dying at disproportionately higher rates. African Americans in particular are experiencing the highest death rate, about double their population representation across all adult age categories. More men are dying from COVID-19 than females, in line with national trends, with the notable exception of Asian females 65+ where the difference is significantly higher.

Additional information can be found here.

More information can be found on CDPH’s website.

Governor’s Directives to Date
April 22, 2020 – Announces Plan to Resume Delayed Health Care that was Deferred as Hospitals Prepared for COVID-19 Surge

April 21, 2020 – Launches #CaliforniansForAll Service Initiative

April 20, 2020 – Announces Cross-Sector Partnerships to Support Distance Learning and Bridge the Digital Divide

April 17, 2020 – Taps California Business, Labor, Health Care and Community Leaders for New Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery

April 16, 2020 Executive Order – Actions in Response to COVID-19

April 16, 2020 Executive Order – Paid Sick Leave Benefits for Food Sector Workers Impacted by COVID-19, Additional Protections for Consumers

April 15, 2020 – Announces New Initiatives to Support California Workers Impacted by COVID-19

April 14, 2020 Executive Order – Division of Juvenile Justice Discharge and Reentry Process

April 14, 2020 – Outlines Six Critical Indicators the State will Consider Before Modifying the Stay-at-Home Order and Other COVID-19 Interventions

April 13, 2020 – Announces $42 Million to Protect Foster Youth and Families Impacted by COVID-19

April 13, 2020 – California, Oregon & Washington Announce Western States Pact

April 10, 2020 – Announces Release of $100 Million to Support Child Care Services for Essential Workers and Vulnerable Populations

April 10, 2020 – Outlines Steps to Protect Residents and Employees of California Nursing Home & Residential Care Facilities

April 9, 2020 Executive Order – Upcoming Elections

April 9, 2020 – Announces Additional Unemployment Benefits for Workers Impacted by COVID-19

April 9, 2020 – Announces New Program to Provide Front-Line Health Care Workers with Hotel Rooms

April 7, 2020 Executive Order – Expand Support for Vulnerable Populations

April 7, 2020 Executive Order – Help State Procure Necessary Medical Supplies

April 6, 2020 – Announces Progress in Expanding Hospital Capacity to Fight Coming Surge in COVID-19 Cases

April 6, 2020 – Announces California to Send 500 State-Owned Ventilators to the National Stockpile to Help States in Need

April 4, 2020 Executive Order – Provide Expanded Access to Child Care for Essential Workers During COVID-19 Response

April 4, 2020 – Launches One-Stop Website for Donations & Sales of Essential Medical Supplies in Fight Against COVID-19

April 3, 2020 Executive Order – Protect Consumers from Price Gouging

April 3, 2020 Executive Order – Expand Telehealth Services

April 3, 2020 – Launches Project Roomkey: A First-in-the-Nation Initiative to Secure Hotel & Motel Rooms to Protect Homeless Individuals from COVID-19

April 2, 2020 Executive Order – Protecting Homes, Small Businesses from Water Shutoffs

April 2, 2020 – Announces New Help for Small Businesses & Workers Displaced by COVID-19

April 1, 2020 Executive Order – Providing for Expedited Resources for COVID-19 Response

April 1, 2020 – Announces Agreement Between Teachers, Classified Employees and School System Management to Support Student Instruction During COVID-19 Outbreak

March 31, 2020 – Launches Campaign to Protect Health and Well-Being of Older Californians During COVID-19 Pandemic

March 30, 2020 Executive Order – Providing Relief to California Small Businesses

March 30, 2020 Executive Order – Temporary Expansion of the Health Care Workforce

March 30, 2020 – Announces California Health Corps, a Major Initiative to Expand Health Care Workforce to Fight COVID-19

March 29, 2020 – Public Service Awareness Campaign: California’s Leading Digital and Media Platforms, Businesses and Celebrities Partner with the State to Amplify COVID-19 “Stay Home. Save Lives.”

March 27, 2020 Executive Order – Establishing a Statewide Moratorium on Evictions

March 27, 2020 Executive Order – Judicial Council Emergency Authority

March 25, 2020 – Major Financial Relief Package: 90-Day Mortgage Payment Relief During COVID-19 Crisis

March 24, 2020 Executive Order – State Prisons and Juvenile Facilities in Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak

March 22, 2020 – Request for Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for State’s COVID-19 Response Efforts

March 21, 2020 Executive Order – Expanding the Capacity to Combat COVID-19 in Health Care Facilities

March 21, 2020 – Takes Action to Strengthen California’s Health Care Delivery System to Respond to COVID-19

March 20, 2020 Executive Order – Protect Public Health by Expanding Vote-by-Mail Options and Extending Deadlines for Presidential Primary Canvass

March 20, 2020 – Deploys California National Guard to Help Distribute Food at Food Banks & Protect California’s Most Vulnerable

March 19, 2020 Executive Order – Stay at Home Order

March 19, 2020 – Request for Deployment of USNS Mercy Hospital Ship to Los Angeles

March 19, 2020 – Governor Newsom Requests Federal Assistance to Support California’s Efforts to Prepare for COVID-19 Surge

March 18, 2020 Executive Order – $150M in Funding to Protect Homeless Californians from COVID-19

March 18, 2020 Executive Order – Waiving Statewide Testing for CA Students

March 18, 2020 Executive Order – Safety Net Services

March 17, 2020 Executive Order – Ease restrictions on commercial drivers engaged in support of emergency relief efforts

March 17, 2020 Executive Order – Guidance for K-12 Schools & CDE Guidance

March 17, 2020 $1.1 billion in emergency funding can now be used to increase hospital capacity, clean schools and protect those most vulnerable to the disease

March 17, 2020 California Requests Federal Government Waiver to Cover Medi-Cal Recipients and Expand Tele-Health Options

March 16, 2020 Isolation – Adults with Elevated Risk

March 16, 2020 Executive Order – Protect Renters and Homeowners

March 13, 2020 Executive Order – State Funding for Schools Even in Event of Physical Closure

March 12, 2020 Executive Order – Enhancing California’s ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic


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