California's Governor Gavin Newsom is extending the state of emergency that was triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, for a third time since the start of the pandemic. This order is set to run until March 31st of the next year. The governor says state health officials are seeing COVID-19 hospitalizations overall decline, yet cases are beginning to rise again in places such as San Bernardino and Riverside.
The state's healthcare system is preparing themselves for another winter surge. The health department has started reserving equipment and locking in contracts with temporary health care workers, according to the governor Wednesday. Earlier this fall, California ranked as one of the states with the lowest case rate. Now the golden state is placing 16th on the list of rising cases. The positivity rate for those tested is now up to 2.3% after falling below 1% in June.
Officials believe the upward trend will continue to increase not only for the changing weather and presence of common colds and flu, but due to holiday mingling. The continued declaration of a state of emergency allows out-of-state medical workers to treat patients in California and allow emergency medical technicians and others to keep administering vaccines and providing other related services. It also keeps flexibility for health care facilities, like triage centers and screening areas in parking lots.
Certain lawmakers have been calling for Governor Newsom to un-declare the state of emergency status, which gives Newsom more executive powers, but the Governor has remained adamant that the pandemic is still on and the extra services are still needed. The 2021 recall election for Governor Gavin Newsom in part was triggered by his pandemic response, some calling it overbearing and an abuse of power.
As of Wednesday's press conference with the Governor, California reported 3,716 new cases and 134 new fatalities. The governor also warned that the advent of the flu season increases the risks brought on by the pandemic and is encouraging anyone interested in the booster shot to go and get one.