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New alarms raised as California coronavirus hospitalizations jump 32% in two weeks

Gov. Gavin Newsom during a visit to Los Angeles on June 3.
Gov. Gavin Newsom during a visit to Los Angeles on June 3.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued another warning to Californians about the growing spread of the coronavirus as the state again reported increases in hospitalizations.

The governor’s Thursday news conference marked the third time this week that he has urged people to take more precautions as he disclosed troubling new highs.

“I cannot impress upon people more the importance at this critical juncture, when we are experiencing an increase in cases that we have not experienced in the past, to take seriously this moment,” Newsom said. “If we do, we can mitigate and we can bend [the curve] and we ultimately can rebound and become more resilient still in the future.”

As of Thursday, Newsom said patients hospitalized because of COVID-19 jumped 32% in the last two weeks to 4,240, double the two-week increase of 16% that he had reported on Monday. After growing earlier this week, the rate of positive cases remained steady at 5.1% over two weeks compared to Wednesday, he said.

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The governor has pleaded with Californians to wear face masks and maintain a physical distance of six feet from one another. He advised those over the age of 65 or with chronic medical conditions to remain at home.

But beyond telling Californians to heed the state’s mask requirement, the governor has not reinstated any of the restrictions he began easing in early May or demanded that counties experiencing surges shutter businesses again. Fifteen counties in California, including Los Angeles, have reported an elevated transmission of the disease, increased hospitalizations or a limited hospital capacity that doesn’t meet the state’s guidelines.

Newsom said Thursday that he would consider toggling back and issuing restrictions again if healthcare needs begin to exceed capacity.

“When our system cannot absorb, when there’s a capacity consideration or limitation, that’s when we obviously have alarm bells that are raised,” he said.


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