During a press conference on Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a detailed plan for easing statewide coronavirus restrictions.
SACRAMENTO (KABC) -- During a press conference on Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a detailed plan for modifying California's statewide coronavirus restrictions, a decision he said he made without "political pressure," an apparent reference to President Donald Trump declaring himself the ultimate decision-maker for when states can reopen.
In addition to the plan, Newsom stated that there would be no large-scale events until there is herd immunity and/or a vaccine. This could be months away or longer.
"So large-scale events that bring in hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of strangers together across every conceivable difference -- health and otherwise -- is not in the cards based upon our current guidelines and current expectations," he said, nevertheless adding that "things could change rapidly."
The governor described a six-pronged framework of parameters and tools that are needed before the state can implement major changes to the state's stay-at-home orders and other COVID-19 interventions:
1. A widespread expansion of coronavirus testing;
2. "Vigilant" protection against infection of California's most vulnerable residents;
3. Manage surges at hospitals, enable development of infrastructure and distribution of personal protective equipment, or PPE;
4. Engage researchers in academia, including the University of California, and at health and technology companies on the front lines of the pandemic;
5. "Redraw floor plans" at business locations, schools and child-care facilities with physical distancing in mind;
6. Determining when to re-institute certain measures, such as stay-at-home orders.
Describing himself as an "optimist," Newsom unveiled the strategy at his daily news conference while framing it as a transition from "surge to suppression" and a "bridge toward herd immunity and ultimately a vaccine."
As for when the state could be reopened and stay-at-home orders loosened, the governor said the answer to that rhetorical question depends on two things: whether the state will "continue to hold the line" on the spread of the virus, including a decline in the number of new cases and hospitalizations, and the building of the infrastructure needed to battle the pandemic.
"Ask me the question again in two weeks," if those criteria are met, he said.
The announcement comes a week after Newsom's administration was sticking to a forecast of a possible tidal wave of COVID-19 cases in mid-May that could require up to 66,000 additional hospital beds.
Newsom on Monday reported the number of people hospitalized increased modestly during the weekend, continuing an encouraging trend. In Los Angeles County, the state's largest and home to about 40% of its virus deaths and overall cases, officials said Monday the number of new cases was the lowest in weeks.
For ABC7's complete coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, visit abc7.com/coronavirus.