FRESNO, Calif. - California Governor Gavin Newsom says the state is making huge progress in its fight against COVID-19.
As of Feb. 10 over five million people in the state have been vaccinated.
During a press conference Wednesday afternoon in Fresno, Newsom spoke about the significant progress the state is making.
Hospitalizations in the state are significantly down, Newsom stated there was a 34% decline in hospitalizations over the last 14 days and a 28% decline in the number of people in the ICU.
A month ago the state reported having a 13.9% positivity rate and today it was reported that the state positivity rate fell down to 4.8%.
"We’re seeing testing continue across the state and that testing is providing a sense of the community spread, it’s also led us to a deeper and greater understanding of variants," Newsom stated.
Data from the state shows there is 159 identified cases of the U.K. COVID-19 variant 1,203 cases of the West Coast variant, two cases of the South African variant and no case of the Brazilian variant.
The two South African cases were confirmed Wednesday morning; one was reported in Alameda County and the other in Santa Clara County.
Newsom says the issue of mutation is one of their top priorities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California is the state with the second-highest amount of confirmed U.K. variant cases.
Health officials say the U.K. variant, known as B.1.1.7, is considered more contagious, but not necessarily more deadly, than the original strain of COVID-19.
Despite the increase in mutations, Newsom says several California counties are starting to move out of the Purple Tier. Within a week or two he expects more counties will move up from the Purple Tier which will soon allow for more businesses to reopen as well schools.
As far as any update on schools reopening, Newsom said he is working with the legislature on a $6.6 billion early action package.
"As I said yesterday, I remain confident that we will announce a deal as early as Friday with the legislature that will allow our youngest cohorts to return safely to school, starting with kindergarten to second grade and ultimately get cohorts up to 6th grade, at least in that first phase," the governor stated.
As far as schools in Los Angeles County reopening, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told the Board of Supervisors that the county's falling case numbers mean schools could be able to welcome back elementary school students for in-person classes in a matter of weeks. The county must have an adjusted average daily new case rate of 25 per 100,000 residents to allow students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade to return to class. As of Tuesday, the county's state-adjusted rate was 31.7 per 100,000 residents.