California preparing for a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations, Newsom says

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- California has been getting ready for a surge in coronavirus hospitalizations as cases continue to rise, Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a press conference Wednesday.

He said the state has been successful at maximizing hospital capacity and establishing alternative care sites since March. The state now has the capacity to treat 50,000 COVID-19 patients if necessary.

That extra hospital capacity has started to look more and more necessary; COVID-19 hospitalizations have grown 44% over the last two weeks, the governor said.

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While capacity is looking adequate on the state level, smaller counties are more concerned about being able to treat residents in the case of a coronavirus spike.

"Depending on where you live, the assets that are available to you are quite distinctive. You can imagine if you have an increase of just a few patients in Sutter County, that can represent a huge percentage of your total capacity."

Even though hospitalizations have been rising, state officials emphasized we're in a much better position to treat coronavirus patients than we were at the beginning of the pandemic. The drug remdesivir has proven effective in helping treat the virus for some patients, and fewer patients these days need to be put on ventilators.

Newsom also announced an additional three counties were added to the state's watch list of areas of concern. Napa, San Benito and Yolo counties were all added, bringing the total to 26. See the rest of the list here.

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Last week, the governor ordered the closures of bars, indoor restaurants, zoos and museums in counties that have been on the state's watch list for more than three days. At the time, that applied to 19 counties, or about 70% of the state's population.

If these counties stay on the watch list through the end of the week, they'll also have to start closing down those businesses.

Napa is getting ahead of the situation and bracing to close down indoor restaurants, tasting rooms and taprooms starting at 12:01 a.m. Thursday morning.



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