Public Schools to Remain Closed for Remainder of Year
Today, Governor Gavin Newsom held his daily briefing at noon to provide an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Today, the Governor led with the latest COVID-19 hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) patient figures. The number of coronavirus hospitalizations in California is now 1,855. He says that figure represents a tripling from a few days ago and is key to his focus on a surge of infections. The number of coronavirus patients in ICU beds is 774, a 16.4 percent increase from the day before.
Jumping off from this data, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Dr. Mark Ghaly gave a brief presentation using slides to show some of the modeling state officials have relied on when developing COVID-19 policies and guidance. Dr. Ghaly stated that California is indeed flattening the curve but that the state is still on track to outstrip hospital capacity in mid-May.
On education, Governor Newsom confirmed that schools will remain closed for the rest of this academic year. "It seems self-evident that we should not prepare to bring our children back into the school setting," he said. Further, the Governor said that the federal government has granted a waiver on distributing food to kids in need. He also announced that the state is partnering with Google to provide internet access and thousands of Chromebooks computers so that California students can learn remotely.
The Governor was joined by California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond who spoke by phone. Thurmond offered a few remarks regarding distance learning. Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, President of the State Board of Education, was also on the phone and stated that additional guidance related to graduation requirements, grading and more will be released later today. Further, the Governor plans to sign an Executive Order (EO) "in the next day or so" on childcare needs as it relates to schools being closed.
With regards to California Health Corps, Newsom said more than 34,000 people have applied in just two days.
Additionally, an update was provided on masks/facial coverings. However, Newsom stressed that masks/facial coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing or staying-at-home. Dr. Sonia Angell, the Director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), added that –in short— there may be some benefit from using these, but only when they are used correctly. Guidance on this issue is also forthcoming.
As of March 30th, there are a total of 6,932 positive cases and 150 deaths in California. Also, approximately 86,100+ tests had been conducted in California. At least 28,704 results have been received and another 57,400 are pending. More information can be found here.