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Newsom: COVID-19 cases rising steadily but slowly as Californians stay home

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Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that California schools will likely remain closed for the rest of the school year due to the coronavirus,, but provide off-site education, during a news conference at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services in Rancho Cordova, Calif., Wednesday, April 1, 2020. The state is not mandating that schools remain closed through the summer break but offering guidance and recommendations on distance learning for schools. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, Pool)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTLA) — Coronavirus cases in the state are rising at a steady but slow pace as Californians continue to stay at home and practice social distancing, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday.

State officials have confirmed 15,865 cases and 374 deaths in the COVID-19 outbreak, the governor announced at a news conference. That’s compared to the 14,336 cases and 343 deaths reported Monday.

California has also confirmed a total of 2,611 hospitalized patients, 1,108 of them in intensive care units—a 4.1% and 2.1% increase from the day before, respectively.

“These are not the double-digit increases we’ve seen in hospitalization rates or ICU rates that we saw even a week or so ago,” Newsom said. “That’s not to suggest, by any stretch of the imagination, that we’ll continue to see these declines. It’s to only reinforce the importance of maintaining physical distancing and continuing our stay-at-home policy that has helped bend the curve in the state of California.”

He added that the “curve continues to rise, just not at the slope” originally projected without interventions outside of health care.

California’s modeling continues to show that the outbreak will likely peak in mid- to late May, said Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services. That’s later than the projection by University of Washington researchers, whose most recent analysis predicts that the number of deadly cases in the state will peak on April 17.

“We know that the bending or flattening of the curve means two things: It means our peak comes down but it also goes further out,” Ghaly said.

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, the state’s surgeon general, also announced guidelines to help people deal with stress during the pandemic.

The recommendations emphasize the benefits of supportive relationships, exercise, sleep, nutrition and mindfulness, as well as the resources Californians can use.

The state’s website lists various hotlines available to those who need them.

“The health impacts of coronavirus go beyond infection and COVID disease,” Harris said. “It is important to recognize that stress related to the pandemic that many are feeling right now, compounded by the economic distress due to loss wages, employment and financial assets, plus school closures and sustained physical distancing, can trigger the biological stress response, which also has an impact on our health and well-being.”

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