Gov. Gavin Newsom Says California Now Reprising Previously Postponed "Necessary" Surgeries

Carolyn COLE / POOL / AFP

"These are surgeries that are essential," the governor emphasized, citing tumor and heart valve surgeries.

Essential surgeries that were postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak can again be rescheduled, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

"We are in position today to begin to pull back and lean in by beginning to schedule surgeries once again, not only through our hospital system but broader health-care system," Newsom said Wednesday during his daily coronavirus update. "These are surgeries that are essential," he emphasized, citing tumor and heart valve surgeries.

He noted that the decision was made in concert with the states of Washington and Oregon as well as data the state had culled from health-care sites. "We will be very thoughtful and judicious about how we do that. We will not overload the system," he added. Newsom also noted that the state's health-care experts are wary and "monitoring" for a potential second wave of the virus that would require additional hospital space.

During his subsequent update, Newsom additionally announced that to improve tracking the virus across California, the state was opening 86 new testing sites in remote areas and underserved urban areas that especially serve communities of color. He added that, according to a study of 251 core coronavirus testing sites in California, 50 to 55 percent said they needed more swabs. On a Wednesday call with President Trump, Newsom said the president promised to send a minimum of 100,000 swabs this week, more than 250,000 swabs in the following week and more after. "That was a very good phone call," the governor said.

The governor also unveiled that the state had struck a deal with Chicago-based Abbott Laboratories to conduct 1.5 million serological tests (which gauge antibodies or proteins in a person's bloodstream that indicates they are fighting a specific illness) at 130 facilities in the state. Newsom noted that serological tests are limited in diagnosing COVID-19 and added, "I caution all of us as that information comes in, as more peer review is being done in this space, that all of us understand that while it can be extraordinarily helpful ... it's not at this moment a panacea."

In terms of tracking cases in California, the governor also had some updates. Building upon professionals already working in the state, Newsom said that state's goal was to build "an army of tracers" with an initial goal of 10,000 tracers: "We've got a new training academy that we'll be putting up online to support that work, and we'll get an aggregated data set that will allow us to track the trackers, track the tracing.”

In his update on hospital and mortality tallies, Newsom reported that 86 people died yesterday from complications due to coronavirus, a 6.8 percent increase from the previous day. Hospitalizations and ICU numbers, however, slightly decreased: The state saw a 0.2 percent decrease in hospitalizations and a 1.8 percent decrease in ICU numbers.

See Newsom's full daily briefing below.