Newsom, California Health Officer Issue Emergency Orders To Prepare Hospitals & ICUs For Increasing Delta Surge

On Monday, California Governor Gavin Newsom’s office announced that one of his staffers, who was fully vaccinated, had contracted Covid-19. According to multiple reports, the staffer had not been near the governor or any of the aides who have worked closely with Newsom’s of late.

The breakthrough case in Newsom’s orbit comes on the same afternoon that the state’s Health Officer, Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, issued a new health officer order meant to ensure rapidly filling hospitals and ICUs flexibility.

“California is currently experiencing the fastest increase in Covid-19 cases during the entire pandemic with 23.8 new cases per 100,000 people per day, with case rates increasing eleven-fold within two months,” wrote Aragón. “Hospitalizations have increased over 700% in the past two months and are projected to continue to increase.”

If that wording sounds familiar, it’s because Aragón issued a similar warning last week, when the state was experiencing 22.7 new cases per 100,000 people per day, with case rates increasing tenfold since early June.

In response to this weeks rise, Aragón’s order requires hospitals statewide to accept transfer patients from facilities with limited ICU capacity when clinically appropriate. The order will take effect August 18, 2021

“We are continuing to see an increase in cases and hospitalizations due to the Delta variant of Covid-19 and are taking action to ensure the state’s health care delivery system is prepared and can respond should the situation worsen,” said Dr. Aragón. “Today’s action will make sure all patients in California continue to receive appropriate care.”

The last time the state took such drastic action was during the deadly winter surge of the virus.

Today, California reported 7,166 Covid hospitalizations and will likely surpass 7,200 hospitalizations in the days ahead, which was the highest number experienced during last year’s summer surge of cases. However, the state’s Covid hospitalizations are still far below the overall peak of nearly 22,000 experienced during the January 2021 surge.

Officials said in a statement, “The state has learned from previous surges in cases and hospitalizations that preparing early through statewide coordination is the best course of action. While the state works to further increase the number of eligible Californians vaccinated, we must take steps to protect the unvaccinated who are more at risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death from Covid-19. Today’s action will ensure the state’s health care delivery system is prepared and can respond appropriately.”

Also, Newsom today issued an Executive Order that extends the state’s ability to waive licensing and certification requirements for out-of-state medical personnel supporting the state’s response through the end of the year. The order also grants regulatory flexibility to respond to the ongoing pandemic.

The state is seeing increasing numbers of individuals – overwhelmingly unvaccinated – contracting COVID-19 and being admitted to the hospital and ICU.

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