Governor lifts ban on scheduled surgeries in first modification of stay at home order
A flattening virus curve allows California to take its first signifcant step toward reopening the state, Gov. Newsom announced Wednesday. Newsom said hospitals can begin scheduling medically necessary elective surgeries, which were banned under the original stay at home order to make beds available for a potential surge in patients needing hospitalization. Although deaths rose 6.8% over the past 24 hours to 86, Newsom said hospitalizations were down 0.2% and the number of patients in intensive care units decreased by 1.8%.
Newsom had previously identified six indicators that would determine whether the state could loosen its stay at home restrictions. The ability of hospitals to accommodate a surge in patients is one of those indicators, he said.
He also announced expanded testing at 86 new sites throughout the state. They are focused in rural areas and urban areas in predominantly “black and brown” and low-income areas, which he said had been identified as “testing deserts.” He said President Trump agreed to send 100,000 swabs needed for testing to California this week, 250,000 next week and more the following week, which should help the state reach its goal of conducting 60,000 to 80,000 tests a day in the next few weeks. Currently, the state is conducting just over 14,000 tests daily.
Newsom said he hopes to announce more modifications to the stay at home order in the next days, weeks and months based on the six indicators, which also include the ability of businesses and schools to implement physical distancing. He said he could not announce a specific date when the order would be lifted.