California Governor Gavin Newsom was asked Wednesday if he believed the entire state could no longer be included in the most restrictive purple tier of his draft for a safer reopening by the first day of spring.
“Yes,” said the governor, “based on trend lines.”
These trendlines include the numbers in the state’s largest county, falling enough to allow schools to reopen for face-to-face teaching. Los Angeles public health officials released the news Tuesday evening.
Newsom recalled that a month ago, the state saw a 7-day test positivity rate of 11.4%. On Wednesday, that data point was 3.5%.
In regards to what this means for counties moving to less restrictive levels of its reopening plan, Newsom said:
“Remember… we have a county, Plumas… which goes from purple to red today. I expect a considerable number in the next week and even more in the following weeks. ”
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Then he went even further.
“If the trend lines continue – and in fact I think they do – the counties will move,” said the governor, “not just from purple to red, but more and more from red to orange, and I assume that that this is the case. ” On the number that’s already in orange, you’ll see a lot more in that yellow row, which is more revealing in the stages we published 24 weeks ago in our draft for a safer reopening. “
Newsom then added a caveat.
“It’s difficult to predict the future, especially with this virus,” noted the governor. “But most of all, considering the variations,” things could change.
He then said that the updated totals for virus mutations detected – some of which are considered transmissible – were as follows: 189 cases of the British variant, 0 cases of the Brazilian mutation, 2 cases of the South African strain, and 1,834 cases of California’s own West Coast variant. That last number is up 50% from last week when it was up 20% from the previous week.
“West Coast Variants [are] Something that not a lot of people were paying attention to, ”Newsom said, but it could be problematic.
Last week, Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County Public Health Director, announced that “at least 50% of our samples showed the West Coast variant.” She then said, “More research needs to be done.”
Some, who have done more research, suggest that the variant is not only more transmissible – like the UK variant – but also vaccine resistant. But even more research needs to be done here.