Newsom’s little-noticed reopening demand – Deadline

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When Governor Gavin Newsom introduced California’s new ‘simplified’ coronavirus prioritization system that shows how well a county can reopen, there was one important aspect that received little to no attention.Newsom said on Friday that the color-coded classification would be based on two epidemiological measures: the number of cases per 100,000 population and the test positivity rates.

There will also be an “emergency brake” condition that can be used if the number of hospitalizations in a county becomes worrisome.

But later in his presentation, Newsom mentioned that the state also views “fairness” among its many populations as a factor.

The equity component has received little more than a mention in most reporting – if that – and Newsom has not pushed that point.

California Coronavirus Update: Gov. Gavin Newsom Reveals Stricter, “slower” COVID-19 Reopening Guidelines for Businesses and Schools

But Monday, at the end of a press conference, the head of state of health and social services, Dr. Mark Ghaly, explained that the “benchmarks of health equity” would be an important factor in the determination of reopening of counties.

Ghaly:

Because CA is focused on equity, because so many of our disproportionately affected populations work in so many industries that are starting to see increasing numbers of clients … thus increasing the risk of potential exposure for essential workers who have been disproportionately affected, it has been an important part of our entire framework to focus on equity. Our intention is to add an equity framework. We had hoped it would be ready and I could share it with you. We’re not quite there yet. We want to make sure that we get a good contribution not only from our state and county partners, but also from community partners who have worked with us from the start to reduce disparities and focus on equity.

Ghaly went on to say that California officials have looked both overseas and in the United States for a suitable framework to emulate, but none really apply task-specific measurable metrics. Those requirements could include “focusing on testing and contact tracing and isolation or one of the other parameters,” he said.

The California Department of Public Health website includes the following guidelines for moving from one level to the next:

In addition, the state will establish health equity measures on activities such as data collection, access testing, contact tracing, supportive isolation and outreach that demonstrate a county to reach the most affected communities in a county. Additional measures addressing health outcomes such as case rates, hospitalizations and deaths, will also be developed and monitored for improvement.

The HHS chief confirmed that stock indexes would be released soon.

In recent months, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer has repeatedly pointed out the inequalities between Angelenos of different ethnicities when it comes to the virus. Ferrer has often said that the county is seeing “a disproportionately higher number of deaths from COVID-19 among blacks and Maroons.”

Given this, LA might have another big hurdle to jump through before reopening.

As to when we’ll see the fairness guidelines, “Stay tuned,” Ghaly said. “We want to make sure we’re really up to the task here in California. So just a little more time before we can announce that.

In the meantime, coronavirus numbers in California were mostly flat on Tuesday.

The state has reported 3,712 new cases, for a total of 707,797 since the start of the pandemic.

There were 85 new deaths, for a total of 13,018.

The 14-day test positivity rate was 5.3%.

Hospitalizations and ICU beds used by patients with COVID continued to decline.



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