California is preparing for another surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations, Newsom says

Gov. Gavin Newsom will provide an update to California's response to COVID-19 on Wednesday at noon.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom said California is preparing for a surge in hospitalizations and how it will handle the growing demand for hospital beds by COVID-19 patients, as the state reported a record number of coronavirus on Wednesday.

California reported 11,694, but Newsom advised that the record number includes a backlog of cases being reported from Los Angeles County.

The governor said many of the new cases are being driven by a lack of social distancing and the wearing of face masks, an increase in people from different households mixing, and outbreaks at prisons and jails and essential workplaces.

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Still, he said the increase in cases is a cause for concern with it comes to hospital capacity.

The governor said health officials are working with hospitals across the state to become equipped to take on more COVID-19 patients.

California can currently treat a surge capacity of 50,000 coronavirus patients. Hospitals are building up their inventories of PPE and testing supplies from the state and working to cross-training staff members to work in intensive care units.

Newsom said the state has also identified alternative care sites to set up near hospitals where surges may occur, including in Central California cities like Porterville.

Last week, the Porterville Developmental Center was reactivated as a 50-bed state alternate care site, but it had not yet begun accepting patients.

Over the last seven days, hospitalizations have increased by 44%, and ICU admissions rose by 34%. State health officials said fewer patients have required ventilators in this latest surge, and other therapeutics such as remdesivir are being used to help treat patients.

Newsom said the state has continued to stockpile on N95 and surgical procedure face masks that will be distributed to hospitals and business sectors in California.

The governor also announced three more counties were added to the state's monitoring list on Wednesday, bringing the total up to 26 counties.

Napa, San Benito and Yolo counties will be required to close indoor operations for several businesses.

As President Trump pushes for schools in the country to reopen, Gov. Newsom said, for California, bringing kids back to school and moving forward with the opening of businesses will be determinative of Californians' attempts to mitigate community spread of the virus.

Newsom said the state won't have an idea for when schools can reopen until the data is more clear in the coming weeks.

California's positivity rate increased to 7.1%, a 1% rise in the last seven days.

For more news coverage on the coronavirus and COVID-19 go to ABC30.com/coronavirus
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