SACRAMENTO, CA. In his daily press conference Saturday, Gov. Gavin Newsom told reporters that he accepted responsibility for the lack of statewide testing so far and he announced new initiatives to increase the number of those tested by making more COVID-19 tests available. This will include partnerships with UC Davis and UC San Diego in an effort to establish regional hubs. According to Newsom, 126,700 people have been tested so far and there were an additional 13,000 tests that were awaiting results.
“The testing space has been challenging for us, and I own that,” Newsom said during the news conference. “I have a responsibility as your governor to do more and to better.”
The governor also noted that Abbott Laboratories and healthcare providers statewide are working to increase point-of-care tests, which can take 15 minutes or less to produce a result. This included 75 sites among the state’s 13 major hospital systems including Sutter Health and Kaiser Permanente, he said.
Newsom also announced the launch of a new state website to facilitate getting critical medical supplies to the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. The new website (covid19supplies.ca.gov) will allow individuals and companies to donate, sell or offer to manufacture 13 of the most essential medical supplies, including ventilators, N95 respirators, and testing materials.
Asked if the state’s response met the specific health and economic needs of LGBTQ Californians, especially those living with HIV and LGBTQI+ residents solely dependent on the gig economy, the governor noted that it was a “Point of Pride” for him to proactively address those needs. Especially as a former Mayor of San Francisco he said. San Francisco has one of the largest LGBTQI+ centric populations in the state.
“Yeah, from across the spectrum from addressing homeless youth- particularly in LA County; so the answer is ‘yes.’ From an LGBTQ perspective but also from a geographical perspective. And from an age perspective as it relates to finding more federal resources for housing opportunities for LGBTQ youth and adults. Look, I come from San Francisco, 5th generation, it’s a point of deep pride when we talk in terms of cultural competency- neighborhood by neighborhood,” Newsom said.
“The history of the HIV epidemic searing the consciousness of our health care delivery focus- again a bottom-up focus, and yeah, of course that extended to Dr. Fauci* (link) who is very familiar to the folks in San Francisco and within the LGBTQ community as being one of our heroes decades ago, in terms of how he met that moment and he spoke truth in that moment. So, the answer is absolutely ‘yes’- point of pride for me as a former mayor of San Francisco, who’s deeply attached to the needs and desires and aspirations and the health of our LGBTQ community,” he added.
“We are always grateful for Governor Newsom’s leadership, but perhaps never more than during this public health crisis. Governor Newsom has been a lifelong pro-equality champion and we know he and his team are prioritizing our LGBTQ+ community — and the diverse communities to which we belong — and will identify and implement specific solutions to meet the unique challenges we face,” Rick Zbur, the executive director of Equality California wrote in an email to the Los Angeles Blade reacting to Newsom’s answer. “We look forward to working closely with the governor in the coming weeks and months to provide health and healing for LGBTQ+ and all Californians,” he added.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) announced 28 new deaths related to the coronavirus Saturday, which was the largest single-day rise in fatalities yet as officials said again that they are preparing for several tough weeks.
To date, LACDPH has identified 5277 cases across all areas of LA County, including 117 deaths. As of today, 1168 people who tested positive for COVID-19 (22% of positive cases) have been hospitalized at some point during their illness. Testing capacity continues to increase in LA county, with almost 29,000 individuals tested and 14% of people testing positive.
“This is the most dramatic increase in deaths we have seen since the COVID-19 crisis began, and our condolences go out to each and every person impacted by these heartbreaking losses,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of LACDPH said in an emailed statement. “Though COVID-19 can infect people of all ages, most of the deaths we see continue to be among individuals over the age of 65 with underlying health conditions. Now, more than ever, we must unify as a community to protect this vulnerable population by making sure they are able to stay home and take every precaution.”
“This is the time for neighbors, friends, and families to make sure that those at highest risk for serious illness from COVID-19 are able to easily and safely remain in their homes with all their needs met. So, call and check in on our elderly community members, and when possible, safely drop off any supplies they may need, from a safe social distance. These are tough times, but we are a caring LA County, and we will get through this together,” She added.
Californian’s are reminded that the best defense against the viral outbreak is to stay home and when out and about to practice physical distancing of at least 6 feet Newsom reiterated in his Saturday press conference.
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Note: Dr. Fauci was appointed Director of The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in 1984. He oversees an extensive research portfolio of basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose, and treat established infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis and malaria as well as emerging diseases such as Ebola and Zika. NIAID also supports research on transplantation and immune-related illnesses, including autoimmune disorders, asthma and allergies.
Dr. Fauci has advised six Presidents on HIV/AIDS and many other domestic and global health issues.