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COVID-19 State Policy Update 05.19.20

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May 19, 2020

Today, Tuesday, May 19th, Governor Newsom did not provide a live daily update; however, there is some news of interest.

This morning Governor’s Office announced that The Governor’s Task Force on Business and Job Recovery has urged Congress leaders to pass emergency relief for state and local governments. The letter sent to Congressional leaders was signed by more than 90 California leaders in business. The appeal details some of the fiscal challenges the state, local, and tribal governments face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read a copy of the letter here.

The letter reads in part, “COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how we will manage our businesses and organizations going forward, with the worst of the economic impact likely still to come,” the letter continues. “Reopening our economies is a welcome step forward, but the success of our efforts ultimately relies on building greater confidence among consumers that it is safe to shop and greater certainty for workers that the services they rely on to do their jobs will remain in place. Without that, we will be a re-opened economy in name only.” Link to the Governor’s announcement here.

Re-opening the economy – Phase 2 and beyond

Yesterday, the Governor announced a new process (similar to the first variance process) allowing prepared counties to advance at their own pace through Stage 2. In order to take advantage of this new process, counties must meet additional metrics, including stable or down trending of hospitalizations, cases per population count and test positivity rates (read more here).  The state continues to exceed its COVID-19 testing goals, as more than 40,000 tests are being done on a daily basis (read more here). Californians are urged to take advantage of the free tests being offered by the state at more than 80 locations across the state. To find a nearby testing location, go to the COVID-19 test site and enter your ZIP code (find the site here).

Variance Guidelines 

As noted in previous briefings the Governor outlined next steps in California’s reopening of the economy, including dining-in restaurants, as part of Phase 2 and working though the state’s Roadmap to Recovery (read more here). In anticipation of more counties moving forward for Phase 2 variances, the state has made available guidelines for businesses seeking variances from their local county public health department. Of particular interest are the guidelines for dine-in restaurants where business across the state is down an estimated 93% (read more about dine-in guidelines here). The following are links to the guidelines for other business sectors (read the guidelines for office workspaces here), malls, including enclosed, outdoor and strip malls to open for pick-up only (read the retail guidelines here). Find additional guidelines for other businesses here).  

Faith-based Organizations

As the Governor noted in his briefing yesterday, May 18, faith-based organizations may provide counseling services and conduct office meetings; however, congregant services and gatherings are still not permitted. The Governor did note he expects the state is only weeks away from permitting faith-based organizations from holding congregant gatherings and services.

Californians are urged to familiarize themselves with their county’s variances and requirements. Counties will report in real time their data related to testing, contact tracing, hospitalizations, and infection rates. The COVID-19 page will be updated regularly, so people are able to read about the current state of the stay-at-home order and Phase 2 progress for every county (read more about county guidelines here), including their self-certification, attestations, positive testing data, hospitalizations, ICU admissions and death rates.

Key milestones – Covid-19 update – as of 5.19.20

  • More than 3,334 deaths +1% 
  • 81,795 positive cases +1.7% 
  • 1,339,316 tests conducted. Now averaging more than 40,000 daily
    • Latinos continue to have the highest percentage of positive cases at 53.5%, followed by Caucasians at 22.8%, Asians at 10.6%, and Blacks at 5.9%.
  • Hospitalizations increased by 36 (+1.2%) to 3,073
  • The majority of hospitalizations are in LA County 1,531, followed by San Diego County at 329; Orange County 263; Riverside 195; San Bernardino 140; Alameda 87; Fresno 61; San Francisco 46.
  • ICU – 1,076 (unchanged)