Central California is a COVID-19 hotspot, state investing $52M to help slow surge

Newsom said 45 hospitals within Central California have continued to see surges in hospitalizations and ICU rates.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Central California has become a hotspot for coronavirus outbreaks, and Governor Gavin Newsom has announced a new task force aimed at gaining control over the transmission levels and aiding healthcare workers in Central Valley counties.

Dr. Mark Ghaly said eight counties have an "R-effective" higher than 1. The effective reproduction number (called R-effective) is the measure of the average number of new infections caused by a single infected individual.

Those eight counties include Fresno, Tulare and Stanislaus counties, where positivity rates have risen to 17.7%, more than double the statewide positivity rate of 7.5%.

Newsom said many of the outbreaks in Central California are coming from essential workplaces, including packing plants, corrections facilities and nursing homes. He added the virus had disproportionately impacted the Latino community because they make up a higher percentage of the workforce in these businesses.

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The governor said $52 million from a federal grant will be invested into the eight counties to improve coronavirus testing, bring more supplies to hospitals and implementing new isolation protocols.

A new task force was created to respond to the Central Valley specifically. It is similar to the response team that was deployed to Imperial County several weeks ago to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Nearly 200 teams made up of social services, CalOSHA, community-based organizations and state health officials will also be deployed to help businesses, hospitals and communities reduce transmissions rates.

Newsom said 45 hospitals within Central California have continued to see surges in hospitalizations and ICU rates. Last week, Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia reported their hospital was at 90% capacity and ventilators were few.

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California's hospitalizations were up 3%, maintaining its "modest" rate of increase, Newsom said. Statewide ICU admission rates continued to follow the same trend and were up 7%.

Newsom said the growth rate might be declining compared to several weeks ago, but the state is still not where it needs to reduce restrictions.

California reported a seven-day average of 9,851 coroanvirus cases, and 6,891 positive cases on Sunday.

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