CALIFORNIA STATUS UPDATE
The California Department of Public Health reports:
- Confirmed cases: 22,348 (As of April 13).
- 687 deaths (including one non-California resident)
- 22 state and county labs processing tests for COVID-19.
- Click here for complete information on coronavirus, unemployment, and more from the state of California.
- The California Department of Motor Vehicles is extending the renew date for licenses that were expiring between March and May. The extension goes through May 31 for drivers who are younger than 70 years old. Drivers who are 70 and older will have an extension for 120 days. Additionally, drivers with commercial licenses set to expire between March and June have through June 31 before their licenses expire. DMV officials said California Highway Patrol is aware of the extensions, so drivers should not worry about being ticketed for expired licenses. The extensions are automatic, and drivers will not receive a new card in the mail.
- California's governor is basing his plan to eventually ease coronavirus restrictions on widespread testing that has been hampered with problems. Gov. Gavin Newsom set no timetable for a return to normal Tuesday but said it would depend on testing everyone with symptoms of the virus and being able to contact family members and friends they may have exposed. Testing has been problematic in California with supply shortages, long waits for results and even a lack of data on the rate of infection. Newsom set up a task force that aims to have tens of thousands of tests conducted a day by May.
- An employee at Tony’s Fine Foods in West Sacramento is confirmed to have tested positive for coronavirus. In a press release issued on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the business said the employee was last at the facility on April 8 and that “enhanced cleaning and safety plans” have been put in place out of an abundance of caution. Those procedures include hiring a “federally designated” COVID-19 sanitation service. The press release also states it is working to identify coworkers with whom the patient may have come in contact with while working.
- California Gov. Gavin Newsom has revealed an outline for lifting coronavirus restrictions in the nation's most populous state. Newsom wants to see hospitalization numbers flatten and decline before he begins rolling back stay-at-home orders. But he said things won't look the same when the state reopens. He said waiters at restaurants will likely be wearing masks and gloves. And he said public schools could stagger the times when students arrive to maintain social distancing. California has been under a statewide stay-at-home order since March 19. Since then, more than 2 million Californians have filed for unemployment benefits.
- Sacramento County health officials report 816 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the county with 28 deaths attributed to the disease. Tuesday’s numbers reflect an increase of 84 cases and one additional death, according to the county health department. All the deaths, so far, have been from patients who are either 65 years or older and/or those who had underlying health conditions, health officials said. The majority of the cases in the county (357) are people between the ages of 18 and 49.
- Gov. Gavin Newsom says he'll reveal plans Tuesday for gradually releasing California from the coronavirus restrictions that have kept 40 million residents indoors for much of the last month. Newsom on Monday didn't provide specifics or a date for the rollback but said he'll work with the governors of Oregon and Washington on a common plan. Newsom's monthlong stay-at-home order has shut down many businesses and millions have filed for unemployment. But state and local stay-at-home orders also have been cited as helping slow the rise in COVID-19 cases. Only a modest increase in hospitalizations was reported this weekend.
- California pastors file lawsuit against Gov. Newsom: A group of pastors have filed a lawsuit against Governor Gavin Newsom alleging that he criminalized the free exercise of religion. “Criminalizing individual participation at a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or other house of worship clearly violates the First Amendment,” said Harmeet K. Dhillon, Chief Executive Officer for the Center for American Liberty. “The state and localities have granted sweeping exceptions to the shutdown orders for favored businesses and professions, while specifically targeting people of faith and decreeing to religious institutions that it is ‘good enough’ that they be allowed to offer streaming video services. The state does not get to dictate the method of worship to the faithful.” Dhillon added, "If a Californian is able to go to Costco or the local marijuana shop or liquor store and buy goods in a responsible, socially distanced manner, then he or she must be allowed to practice their faith using the same precautions.”
OUR MISSION: FACTS NOT FEAR
According to the CDC, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a family of viruses that is spreadable from person to person. Coronavirus is believed to have been first detected in a seafood market in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. If someone is sick with coronavirus, the symptoms they may show include mild to severe respiratory illness, cough, and difficulty breathing.
Currently, there is no vaccine; however, the CDC suggests the following precautions, along with any other respiratory illness:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
WHY HEALTH OFFICIALS ARE SO CONCERNED
Some people have compared the low overall death toll to the flu's high annual death toll in the United States as a reason not to be concerned about COVID-19, however, doctors and health officials are concerned for three main reasons:
- Some people have built up immunity to the flu, but few have immunity to COVID-19 version of coronavirus.
- Both the flu and COVID-19 are spread by droplets, but COVID-19 might be spread in the air. Scientists are researching exactly how COVID-19 spreads.
- The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public where social distancing measures would be difficult to maintain, like at a grocery stores or pharmacy.
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