Where is COVID-19 getting worse? Gov. Newsom reveals new coronavirus forecasting model for California

ByStephanie Sierra and Alix Martichoux KGO logo
Friday, June 26, 2020
Where is COVID-19 getting worse? Newsom reveals new forecast
In a press conference Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom revealed a dashboard that forecasts where COVID-19 is getting worse in California. Hospitalizations are expected to triple over the next month if current trends hold.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled an ambitious coronavirus forecasting model for the state of California during a press conference Thursday.

Multiple dashboards were launched on a new state website. Newsom referred to the project as "a model of models."

According to the models' "nowcasts," which show real-time COVID-19 trends, Marin and Merced counties are the only two areas where the spread of the virus is listed as "likely increasing rapidly." The spike in Marin may be partially due to an outbreak at San Quentin Prison.

The state's forecast shows statewide hospitalizations more than tripling over the next month, if current trends continue.

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Newsom encouraged Californians to log onto the forecasting site and explore trends where they live.

Newsom also gave an update on COVID-19 trends in the state. Hospitalizations have increased 32% over the past 14 days and ICU hospitalizations are up 19%. COVID-19 patients are in 34% of all available ICU beds in the state.

Gov. Newsom declared a budget emergency Thursday morning that will allow California to take billions from a reserve account to help plug a large deficit brought on by the coronavirus. The budget proposes taking roughly $8 billion from the state's "rainy day" fund in the budget year that starts July 1. That's about half of what's in the fund. Newsom needed to declare an emergency to allow him to legally tap that money. The state Senate is set to vote on the budget later Thursday, and the Assembly will vote the following day.

On Wednesday, the governor shared a stunning view of the surging coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in California: from 4,230 on Sunday, to 5,019 on Monday and 7,149 on Tuesday. That's a 69% increase in new cases in just two days.

"We've seen a lot of those numbers are reflected in increases in the Bay Area," Newsom said. "That's part of the state that's moved last into this new phase. They have moved more slowly and now have experienced an increase in the last number of days. It's Alameda, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo." Los Angeles, Kings, Imperial, Riverside and San Bernardino counties also remain areas of concern, he said.

On Thursday, the number of new cases dropped to 5,349.

WATCH LIST: 13 California counties where COVID-19 is getting worse

The increase isn't just due to an increase in testing; the positivity rate climbed to 5.6% over the past seven days.

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Newsom says he is prepared to "revert back" to more stringent coronavirus restrictions, if necessary, as California continues to see a rise in cases.

During a routine update Monday on COVID-19's impact throughout the state, Newsom stressed the importance for individuals to "mitigate the likelihood and need" to reverse course by being mindful of their actions as more aspects of the economy are reopened.

"We don't intend to do that, we don't want to do that, but I want to make this clear - we are prepared to do that if we must," Newsom said. "Clearly we have the capacity, individual and collective capacity, not to have to go in that direction by just being a little bit more thoughtful about how we go about our day-to-day lives."

Although individual counties have the authority to enforce certain health requirements, the governor said the more important tool for enforcing those protocols lies with the "moral persuasion each and everyone one of us has as individuals to be good examples."

WATCH: Here's a breakdown of Newsom's four stage plan to reopening California

We've broken down Gov. Gavin Newsom's 4 phase plan with what's reopening in California.

When asked about the possibility of moving backward through phases of reopening Wednesday, Newsom replied, "As long as we're working together, so long as we're attacking these issues together, and as long as we start to see more and more compliance with our mask mandate, then I think we can move forward more safely and work our way through this without having to toggle back."

Newsom's statements came days after issuing a statewide order that requires Californians to wear a mask in high-risk settings.

State health officials issued a statewide order that requires Californians to wear a face covering in high-risk settings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.