Tag Archives: California

COVID hospitalizations – daily update for Solano County and all of California

This COVID19.ca.gov chart is refreshed automatically with latest data, displayed below on the Benicia Independent.  For Solano County, scroll down to “Positive Patients by County” and click on “Solano.”  Then come back up to the top.

Solano County back to COVID-19 Purple Tier – Governor Newsom details

Governor Newsom Announces New Immediate Actions to Curb COVID-19 Transmission

Office of Governor Gavin Newsom, Press Release, Nov 16, 2020

New actions include pulling an emergency brake in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy and strengthening face covering mandate
Vast majority of counties in the most restrictive tier starting tomorrow

SACRAMENTO – As COVID-19 cases sharply increase across the country and California, Governor Gavin Newsom and state public health officials announced immediate actions today to slow the spread of the virus. The state is pulling an emergency brake in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy resulting in 94.1 percent of California’s population in the most restrictive tier. This change is effective tomorrow. The state will reassess data continuously and move more counties back if necessary. California is also strengthening its face covering guidance to require individuals to wear a mask whenever outside their home, with limited exceptions.

“We are sounding the alarm,” said Governor Newsom. “California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet –faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer. The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes. That is why we are pulling an emergency brake in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Now is the time to do all we can – government at all levels and Californians across the state – to flatten the curve again as we have done before.”

The rate of growth in confirmed COVID-19 cases is faster than it was in July, which led to a significant peak in cases. This requires a swift public health response and action from all Californians to slow the spread of the virus. Immediate action will help protect individuals at higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 and will help keep the state’s health care delivery system from becoming overwhelmed.

“The data we are seeing is very concerning. We are in the midst of a surge, and time is of the essence. Every day matters and every decision matters,” said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “Personal decisions are critical, and I am I imploring every Californian to stay home if they can, wear a mask whenever they leave their homes, limit mixing, practice physical distancing and wash their hands.”

The 28 counties moving back into Tier 1 (Purple / Widespread) include:


Alameda Napa Santa Cruz
Butte Nevada Siskiyou
Contra Costa Orange
El Dorado Placer Sutter
Fresno San Benito Trinity
Glenn San Joaquin Tuolumne
Kern San Luis Obispo Ventura
Kings Santa Barbara Yolo
Mendocino Santa Clara Yuba
The nine counties moving back into Tier 2 (Red / Substantial) include:
Colusa Marin Plumas
Del Norte Modoc San Francisco
Humboldt Mono San Mateo
The two counties moving back into Tier 3 (Orange / Moderate) include:
Calaveras Sierra

Today’s action will remain in effect until the State Public Health Officer determines it is appropriate to make modifications based on public health conditions and data.

California has taken steps to prepare the state for an increase in COVID-19 cases. The state has developed additional testing capacity to allow cases to be quickly identified, recently opening a new laboratory in Valencia that is already processing thousands of tests a day. The state is averaging 164,345 tests over the last seven days.

The state has been working in partnership with hospitals, clinics and physicians on the COVID-19 response. To support California’s health care delivery system, the state has an additional 1,872 beds available at alternate care sites outside of the system that can be made available quickly if needed to respond to a surge in cases.

California will continue to update the Blueprint for a Safer Economy based on the best available public health data and science. For more information about the Blueprint and what Californians can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19, visit covid19.ca.gov.


California plans to independently vet COVID-19 vaccine data

State will assemble a “review board” of leading scientists

FILE – In this July 27, 2020, file photo, Nurse Kathe Olmstead, right, gives volunteer Melissa Harting, of Harpersville, N.Y., an injection as a study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway in Binghamton, N.Y. A letter from federal health officials instructing states to be ready to begin distributing a vaccine by Nov. 1 — two days before the election — has met, not with exhilaration, but with suspicion among public health experts and others. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File)
Vallejo Times-Herald, By Lisa Krieger, September 26, 2020

California will conduct its own independent review of potential COVID-19 vaccines, signaling its distrust of the Trump administration’s accelerated “Operation Warp Speed” initiative.

To vet a vaccine before distribution to state residents, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said Friday that the state will assemble a “review board” of leading scientists at academic institutions to assess the safety and effectiveness of any vaccine candidate.

“We think it is an appropriate approach to take, especially because things are moving so quickly,” Ghaly said. “We want to make sure — despite the urge and interest in having a useful vaccine — that we do it with the utmost safety of Californians in mind.”

The announcement came at a press conference in which Ghaly also expressed concern that California’s coronavirus numbers are beginning to move in the wrong direction after weeks of declines. Based on current trends, he projected an 89% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the next month. That would still be far below hospital capacity and the worst rates in other states.

On the vaccine testing issue, several other states, including New York, have signaled that they’ll also take the unusual step that Ghaly outlined.

“Frankly, I’m not going to trust the federal government’s opinion, and I wouldn’t recommend to New Yorkers, based on the federal government’s opinion,”  New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced at a Thursday news briefing, according to the New York Times.

President Trump has insisted a vaccine will be ready as early as next month, an assertion that other federal authorities say is unlikely.

California is already building a rollout plan for distribution of the vaccine, including whom to prioritize in the process, said Ghaly.

Led by the state’s Department of Public Health, members of a new Vaccine Task Force include other state agencies, as well as academic experts, community groups and individuals.

Once the state confirms the safety of the vaccine, this task force will advise distribution “in an equitable and smart way, to serve all the needs of Californians,” said Ghaly. “That absolutely is our plan.”

Conflicting information about the timing of the vaccine and whether it will be safe and adequately tested has created growing concern that people are hesitant to take it, despite its importance in stopping the pandemic.

The share of Americans who say they would get vaccinated for the coronavirus has declined sharply since earlier this year, according to a survey conducted this month by the Pew Research Center. About half of U.S. adults (51%) now say they would definitely or probably get a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 if it were available today, down from 72% in May.

Only about 21% said they would definitely get a coronavirus vaccine, half as many as in May.

While it is the federal government’s role to approve a vaccine, states have authority for actual distribution — and could, in theory, reject a vaccine they think is unsafe.

“Each state, indeed, has that sort of responsibility,” said Vanderbilt University’s Dr. William Schaffner, an internist and infectious disease specialist who formerly worked for the U.S. Public Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at a Sept. 24 National Press Foundation program. “Some may be more ready to independently evaluate the data than others.”

An FDA committee — called the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee comprising 15 authorities selected by the FDA commissioner — reviews the safety and effectiveness data at a public meeting. The FDA commissioner usually follows the committee’s recommendation, but not always.

Typically, states follow the decision of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP, an independent committee that assesses data on FDA-approved vaccines and makes recommendations to the CDC.

But there is growing worry that the federal regulators may feel pressure from the White House to activate “Emergency Use Authorization” of an unlicensed vaccine, which would not require completion of a full “Phase 3” trial, during which efficacy is tested in thousands of people.

Two other COVID-19 products — hydroxychloroquine and convalescent plasma — received emergency use authorization, and have been touted by President Trump, despite little or no evidence of effectiveness.

This week, the FDA said it would enact new guidelines to toughen the process for approving a coronavirus vaccine. But President Trump said on Wednesday that the White House “may or may not” approve the plan, saying it “sounds like a political move.”

Saying they were “alarmed by political interference in science amid the pandemic,” the presidents of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine issued a statement on Thursday warning that “our nation is at a critical time in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic with important decisions ahead of us, especially concerning the efficacy and safety of vaccines.”

According to the Capitol Hill-based Roll Call, seven jurisdictions have indicated they would analyze the data independently: California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Michigan, New York, Oregon and West Virginia. Another two — Montana and Wyoming — said they’d only administer a vaccine that completed clinical trials and an outside committee’s review.

“States are nervous. We’re talking about this now,” Marcus Plescia of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials told Roll Call. “I think that a lot of public health officials in the states are concerned, given the rhetoric from the administration indicating they want a vaccine as quickly as possible.

But a state-by-state approach — for instance, if one state allows a vaccine, but another state does not — could complicate the pandemic response, which already varies greatly among states, said one expert.

While trust and confidence in the federal agencies has been shaken recently, “that is not the way to get control of this virus,” said Dr. Howard Koh, professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in a Sept. 16 media briefing. “Whenever a vaccine approval occurs, that needs to be accepted by the country, across the country, with implementation as a country.”

As to California’s numbers, Ghaly said Friday that the state is seeing upticks in case rates and hospitalization rates in some counties. They are small now but enough that the state is forecasting that 4,864 people will be hospitalized with COVID-19 by Oct. 25, an increase of roughly 89% from Wednesday, when there were 2,578 patients.

Coronavirus: California could see 89% increase in hospitalizations next month, health official warns

Dr. Mark Ghaly flagged “early signs” that state’s progress has shifted slightly: hospitalizations could rise from 2,578 patients now to 4,864 by late October

Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of California’s Health and Human Services Department, addressed the state’s COVID-19 response in a Zoom broadcast Tuesday. (YouTube. July 21, 2020)

Vallejo Times-Herald, By Fiona Kelliher, September 25, 2020

California could see an 89% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations by the next month if coronavirus infections continue apace, a top state health official warned Friday.

Short-term forecasts indicate that hospitalizations could skyrocket from the 2,578 patients now hospitalized to 4,864 by this time in October, said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly during a Friday press briefing — a signal that Californians should stay vigilant as more parts of the economy open up.

“As we see these trend lines, which have been coming down and flattening, look like they’re coming up … we want to sound that bell for all of you,” Ghaly said. “We want to see us respond as a state to those slight increases.”

Although Ghaly praised the state’s “significant progress” in infection and hospitalization rates since mid-July — when a peak 7,170 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized — he flagged early signs that the state’s progress has begun to shift. Starting in mid-September, Ghaly said, infection rates have risen slightly across the state, while coronavirus-related emergency room visits have also climbed.

Although overall lower case rates have allowed many counties to reopen businesses within Gov. Gavin Newsom’s reopening system, the virus’ reproduction number has surpassed 1.0 in some regions, Ghaly said. Twenty-five of California’s 58 counties remain in the red or “widespread” tier, with another 19, including most of the Bay Area, in the purple or “substantial” tier, allowing for movie theaters and restaurants to welcome customers indoors at limited capacity.

Keeping case rates low means that the virus’ reproductive value has less of a dramatic effect on potential hospitalizations, Ghaly said — especially with the double whammy of flu season looming. But with more cases overall, “you can see how quickly case rates go up and how quickly that creates additional pressure on our hospitals,” he added.

Statewide, however, there was little change in the seven-day average of new infections and fatalities reported as of Friday. Both figures remained lower than where they were two weeks ago and significantly below their respective peaks. The 3,274 new cases and 85 deaths reported by county health departments Thursday kept each seven-day average about even — just over 3,500 cases and just below 84 deaths per day over the past week, according to data compiled by this news organization.

Ghaly’s hospitalization projection, meanwhile, would put the state on par with its Aug. 19 hospitalizations, when 4,890 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 — more than 2,000 people fewer than the state’s peak a month earlier.

“As Californians we’ve done a good job to avoid those situations, and we want to keep our guard up,” Ghaly said.

Evan Webeck contributed to this report.