Newsom says state can resume elective surgeries, announces testing sites in underserved communities

Gov. Gavin Newsom Wednesday announced essential scheduled surgeries could resume in California and that 86 new coronavirus testing sites would be established in the state's underserved communities. 

Newsom was expected to provide a deep dive into easing the state's stay-at-home order. However, millions of Californians were left in limbo as he did not provide an exact date and said it all depends on testing and capacity. 

As a silver lining, Newsom announced "we are in a position today to begin to pull back and lean in," by allowing essential scheduled surgeries at hospitals and healthcare systems such as tumors and heart valves to resume in order to address the "need for people to get the kind of health care they deserve."

Plastic and cosmetic surgeries were excluded.

Newsom also announced 86 additional testing sites across the state for rural and remote communities, as well as for "black and brown communities," in urban areas in order to give "justice to people who are underserved."

RELATED: Interactive Map of Coronavirus Cases

About an hour before the press conference, Newsom revealed having a productive phone call with President Donald Trump that led to more testing swabs being allocated for the Golden State. 

RELATED: Scoop: How the federal government is helping California fight COVID-19

California has about 600 coronavirus testing sites. Newsom said 251 of them account for the backbone of the testing system.

Of those 251 testing sites surveyed, between 50% to 55% said the lack of testing swabs was their biggest issue. 

RELATED: Stay up to date on all coronavirus-related information

According to Newsom, Trump said the state can expect 100,000 swabs this week, 250,000 swabs next week and said the state can expect a "significant increase" beginning in three weeks. 

Currently, about 16,000 coronavirus tests are being administered per day. Newsom said his goal is for 60,000 to 80,000 people to be tested daily. 

On April 14, Newsom specified the six key indicators that would lead to his decision to ease restrictions on the state’s stay-at-home order:

•Monitor and protect communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating and supporting those who are positive of exposed;

•Prevent infection in people who are most at risk;

•Handle surges in the hospital and health systems;

•Develop therapeutics to meet demands;

•Ensure businesses, schools, and child care facilities can support physical distancing;

•Determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home order.

Dr. Mark Ghaly with California Health and Human Services detailed the first indicator.

The first indicator is "among one of the most important in terms of our capacity to make subsequent announcements in terms of how we're starting to loosen up our stay-at-home order," Newsom said.

"It's not a switch, it's a dimmer," Ghaly said of the state's reopening process.

To further clarify California's ability to monitor and protect communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating and supporting those who are positive of exposed, Ghaly provided a reminder that "our actions will be aligned to achieve the following":

• Ensure our ability to care for the sick within our hospitals;

• Prevent infection in people who are at high risk for severe disease;

• Build the capacity to protect the health and well-being of the public;

• Reduce social, emotional and economic disruptions.

"Stability is the operative word," Newsom said. 

Newsom's statewide order for California’s 40 million residents to stay home due to the COVID-19 outbreak in order to slow the spread of the virus and flatten the curve was issued on March 19. 


• Governor Newsom issues statewide order for people to stay at home amid virus outbreak

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