Newsom wants to train 10,000 contact tracers in California
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Wednesday that the state is planning to train up to 10,000 contact tracers amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Expanding contact tracing and testing is one of six indicators Newsom said last week would drive the state’s decision to gradually modify portions of the stay-at-home order.
Newsom said testing and contact tracing will be expanded, adding that President Trump committed to sending the state 100,000 testing swabs next week and 250,000 swabs the following week.
California is establishing a contact tracing workforce by surveying counties on their capacities, developing a statewide training academy and training 10,000 public health connectors to conduct contact tracing.
Eighty additional community testing sites will be set up, focused on underserved communities, Newsom said.
“We know that communities of color are disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” the governor said in an official announcement.
“We must ensure that we are deploying testing equitably in an effort to reduce the higher death rates we are seeing in African American and Latino communities,” he added.
Newsom also announced plans Wednesday to allow hospitals and health systems to resume delayed medical care, such as heart valve replacements, angioplasty and tumor removals, which were deferred as the health care system prepared for a surge of COVID-19 patients.
“Thanks to the work our health care delivery system has done expanding hospital capacity and reducing the rate of spread of COVID-19, hospitals and health systems can consider resuming medical care that residents have delayed during this crisis … when such care can be delivered safely and with appropriate protections for health care workers,” Newsom said.
“It’s in the best interest of the overall health of our state to allow these procedures to resume when they can be done safely,” he added.
Last week, the California state leader announced a plan with six indicators that would drive the state’s decision on when to modify restrictions.
In addition to increasing testing and contact tracing, the indicators are preventing infection in people most at risk, being able to handle a surge in hospitals, developing therapeutics to meet the demand, ensuring businesses and schools can support physical distancing, and determining when to reinstate certain measures such as a stay-at-home order if need be.
California has reported 35,396 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,354 deaths.
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