Gov. Newsom announces $52M investment to help Central California amid COVID-19 surge

Newsom said 45 hospitals within Central California have continued to see surges in hospitalizations and ICU rates.
STOCKTON, Calif. (KGO) -- Governor Gavin Newsom announced during a press conference Monday a $52 million investment that will be put into eight Central Valley counties as the state sees a surge in coronavirus cases.

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Gov. Newsom gave his address from a Diamond Foods factory in Stockton, California, where he again discussed the importance of protecting essential workers in California from COVID-19 while maintaining the structural integrity of an economy that disproportionately relies on the essential workers.

There are a total of 460,550 cases reported in the state as of Monday with a 14-day average of 9,316 new cases. There's a 14-day positivity rate of 7.5% in California.

But while the positivity and hospitalization numbers have become more stable statewide, Newsom says certain regions and sectors of our economy are disproportionately impacted by the transmission of the virus -- including eight Central Valley counties where there are increased infections with positivity rates on the low end of 10.7% (Fresno, Tulare, Stanislaus) and on the high end 17.7%.

The investment will be used to improve isolation protocols, testing protocols and to enhance healthcare workers by providing more support as well as more personnel. That is been provided as part of a $499 million CDC grant the state received.

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"These dollars we think are timely, these dollars certainly are critical and important and they will build off local infrastructure that's already in place," Newsom said.

Newsom referenced the work being done in Imperial County to address community spread that flared up there. The state was able to make improvements in terms of transmission and spread by deploying strike teams.

He announced strike teams will now also be deployed in these eight Central Valley counties in order to support the essential workforce. These teams contain members from OSHA, Social Services, and the Office of Emergency Services, among others.

This announcement comes after Newsom said Friday that additional protections would be given for essential workers in California amid the ongoing pandemic. Newsom acknowledged that some of the COVID-19 case surges in California have stemmed from essential businesses and disproportionately affect minority groups who make up a majority of those workforces.

Newsom's update comes as California lawmakers return to Sacramento for the next five weeks. They'll discuss issues such as unemployment benefits and a moratorium on evictions.

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Over the past several weeks, the governor has been announcing new restrictions on the state's reopening in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19. California saw a record-breaking number of new cases last week.

Newsom has also been giving updates as new counties are added to the state's watch list, which now stands at 37 of California's 58 counties.

In order to get off the list counties must be within their designated threshold for all metrics for three days.

The governor also reminded Californians of the three critical steps to take to make a difference here; wear a mask, physically distance and wash your hands.

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