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Newsom: State is not prepared to lift stay-at-home order

Coronavirus

Gov. Gavin Newsom began Wednesday’s news conference by saying that the state is not prepared to lift the stay-at-home order.

The governor said he wished he could provide a specific timeframe but emphasized that “there is no light switch, and there is not date, in terms of our capacity, to provide the kind of clarity that I know so many of you demand.”

Newsom did announce that California is prepared to begin scheduling surgeries after consulting with health care experts in Oregon and Washington state. It’s the first time the state eased rules under the stay-at-home order that has been in effect since March 19.

“We are working with our health directors and throughout the health care delivery system to reintroduce the capacity to get these scheduled surgeries up and running again, we will be very thoughtful and judicious about how we do that,” Newsom said.

The governor made the announcement as he laid out the goals the state must meet in order to modify the current stay-at-home order.

Newsom first unveiled those key indicators last week.

Wednesday’s discussion focused on the expansion of COVID-19 testing, which would enable the state to support those who are ill and track down who may have been exposed. 

The other five indicators are as follows: the state’s ability to prevent infection among at-risk people; hospitals’ capacity to handle a surge in cases; the development of potential treatments to meet demand; the capability of businesses, schools and child care facilities to keep people safe through physical distancing; and California’s readiness to reinstitute a stay-at-home order or other measures, if needed.

Newsom has said that while there is no specific timeline for lifting the stay-at-home order, those six areas will provide a framework for decision makers. 

The governor was the first to issue a statewide stay-at-home order.

As of Tuesday, 1,268 people have died of the coronavirus in the state—marking a 5% rise from the day before, according to the latest number from California officials. Hospitalization rates of COVID-19 patients, including of those under intensive care, continue to increase incrementally. 

Newsom said that California is starting to “flatten the curve — but we’re not out of the woods yet.”

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