State Watch

California sees first decrease in coronavirus ICU hospitalizations


California experienced its first decrease in coronavirus intensive care unit (ICU) hospitalizations, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

The number of patients in the ICU dropped 1.9 percent from Wednesday’s report, to a total of 1,132 people across the state. At the same time, the rate of total virus hospitalizations has slowed down this week.

But the governor warned against premature celebration or speculation that the outbreak was over.

“One data point is not a trend. One data point is not a headline, so I caution anybody to read too much into that one point of data,” Newsom said during his daily press conference.

“But nonetheless, it is encouraging. It reinforces the incredible work all of you are doing,” he added.

The governor said 2,825 people total were hospitalized as of Thursday, which was a 4.1 percent increase from Wednesday’s update.

California state officials are preparing for a worst-case scenario, projecting that a peak in cases will occur in mid-May. Officials fear that the state’s hospital system will become overwhelmed, needing thousands more beds and ventilators, The Associated Press reported

But California is entering its fourth week in Newsom’s stay-at-home order, and the virus is spreading at a slower rate, leading the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation to predict the state’s peak will occur next week.

Still, Newsom said that California has stockpiled ventilators. Hospitals have more than 11,000 breathing machines, two-thirds of which are not in use. The ventilators are being used across the nation to keep the sickest people with severe breathing problems alive in intensive care. He also said earlier this week he is confident he will be able to send 500 to other states. 

The state has reported 18,309 positive cases and 492 deaths as of Thursday evening. 

A total of 2.3 million people in the state filed for unemployment, more than the total of people who did in 2019, according to the AP.

Tags California Coronavirus coronavirus deaths COVID-19 Gavin Newsom hospitals icu Intensive care unit

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