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Newsom: Physical Distancing 'Extraordinarily Impactful' In California

Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses the acquisition of the NBA's Sacramento Kings' former home arena for use as a 400-bed field hospital to help deal with the coronavirus in California's state capital on Monday.
Rich Pedroncelli/Pool AP
Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses the acquisition of the NBA's Sacramento Kings' former home arena for use as a 400-bed field hospital to help deal with the coronavirus in California's state capital on Monday.

UPDATE: 1:30 p.m., April 10, 2020:

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday said an analysis of state mobility data shows physical distancing has been “extraordinarily impactful” in California.

A presentation by Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of California’s Health and Human Services Agency compared movement by Californians across the state from February to early April has decreased overall.

“Over time, and as we implemented different stay-at-home efforts and orders, we see that it has generally gone down,” Ghaly said. “And that this is exactly the kind of data that helps inform us as to whether we need to do something different with our expectations and our directions to our counties and all across California or whether we stay the course.”

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Californians are not only staying home on weekends but even more so during the week, he said.

The effect of the reduced movement is state leaders are optimistic if Californians continue to follow the stay-at-home orders that hospitalizations may not be that different from what is being reported today, Ghaly said.

“We actually see a trend of even better improvement in the number of hospitalizations that we have in California and that this is actually signaling to us that our peak may not end up being as high as we actually planned around and expected,” he said. “And that the difference between what we're seeing today in our hospitals may not be that much different than where we are going to peak in the many weeks to come.”

But he cautioned the number of infections could easily rise if people “lose focus on physical distancing.”

Other updates from Friday's briefing:

  • The governor reported a slight increase, 1.1% in the number of patients in intensive care units across the state to 1,145. On Thursday, the governor reported the number had decreased from the day before.
  • Newsom said the state is focusing efforts on protecting vulnerable residents in the nursing homes across the state where large numbers of people have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Medical staff working aboard the U.S.N.S. Mercy will prioritize nursing facility residents to protect them from infection.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide additional meal delivery for seniors in California as a supplement to the Meals on Wheels program and working with restaurants.