On Tuesday, California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly replaced the Governor during the normal statewide COVID-19 update press conference, outlining possible new closure changes in California in the future.
Dr. Ghaly reiterated and borrowed Governor Gavin Newsom’s metaphor of California’s economic openness being a ‘dimmer switch‘, with current information statewide either reopening or closing more places based on current numbers of new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.
“The governor’s finger is on that dimmer switch,” said Dr Ghaly. “We, at this moment, continue to watch the data.
“If the data trends continue to such a place that we don’t think we will get better, we will return to dimming in some areas of the state. We will always have our finger on the dimmer switch, we are not afraid to use it and we will continue to be guided by data.”
The CHHS also confirmed that California will soon have a new ‘playbook’ on how to alter any guidelines currently up to counter any new threat or reduction of the virus. Dr. Ghaly noted that the primary factor driving any changes will be the health of Californians, meaning overall COVID-19 rates and cases statewide.
“We are preparing to put out a playbook to augment the guidelines that have already been put out,” added Dr. Ghaly during the press conference. “The overall health of Californians is what will guide the governor. Not just north or south, but all Californians. The goal is to box in the virus with clear sector guidance, testing and contact tracing.”
With 9,231 new COVID-19 cases being reported Tuesday in California by the Department of Public Health, along with 61 new deaths and 170 more COVID-19 related hospitalizations, not much positive news was reported, with Dr. Ghaly being unsure on when the mandatory mask order would be lifted. However, Dr. Ghaly did have a few positive statistics in the fight against COVID.
California COVID-19, By The Numbers:
🔹 7-day average of new cases per day: 9,189
🔹 7-day average from the week prior per day: 8,382
🔹 Confirmed cases to date: 400,769
— CA Public Health (@CAPublicHealth) July 21, 2020
“We don’t see the same double-digit increases in hospitalizations,” noted Dr. Ghaly. “We continue to see transmission come down. We have again built up sufficient hospital capacity across the state.”
Health experts noted that Dr. Ghaly’s conference was mixed but hopeful.
“It was a fair update,” said San Jose-area doctor Ramesh Singth. “I can’t speak to if we are going down on the curve again, but there are signs of hope.
I’ve been telling my patients that my family moved here because America could always beat whatever problems it faced, and this is just the latest one. If we continue social distancing, wearing proper masks in public, and don’t take any unnecessary risks, we can fight COVID-19 faster and beat it faster.
Dr. Ghaly didn’t sugarcoat it and said there’s a long way to go, but normalcy isn’t out of reach.”
Governor Newsom is expected to resume his COVID-19 updates this week.