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Open Safe California: Is the state effectively containing the novel coronavirus?
COVID Exit Strategy (www.covidexitstrategy.org), a nonpartisan group of public health and crisis experts, has been tracking the progress states have made towards meeting the CDC recommended benchmarks states should reach before reopening their economies. As of the week ending on June 26th, only six states were meeting these metrics, earning a “Green” rating. Currently, California is failing half of the benchmarks, and is rated “Red” by COVID Exit Strategy.
CDC Benchmark: a 14-day decline in influenza-like illness The CDC recommends that states report a 14-day decline in influenza-like illness (“ILI”) before lifting restrictions. California HAS MET this benchmark. ILI numbers for outpatient and Emergency Room (“ER”) visits are reported to the CDC weekly. California reported a decline in ILI from 272 to 240 between the week ending June 6th and the week ending June 20th.
CDC Benchmark: declining COVID+ The CDC recommends a state show a 14-day decline in documented cases of COVID-19 before reopening. California has NOT MET this benchmark. COVID+ cases have been increasing in the state over the last 14 days.
CDC Benchmark: testing The CDC recommends a state show a downward trajectory for the percentage of COVID-19 tests that are positive before reopening. California has NOT MET this benchmark. Test positivity has been increasing in the state over the last 14 days.
CDC Benchmark: hospital capacity The CDC recommends a state have sufficient hospital capacity to treat all patients without crisis care (20% capacity available over last 7 days). California HAS MET this benchmark. The highest reported occupancy in the last week was 65% for inpatient and 67% for ICUs.
Recommendations: California is currently failing 2 out of 4 the CDC benchmarks that CALPIRG has been tracking, indicating that COVID-19 has been spreading in the community without effective containment. CALPIRG recommends that the state maintain all current restrictions related to COVID-19, and take additional measures to improve containment. These measures could include: prohibiting indoor seating at restaurants, or closing nonessential businesses that pose an unusually high risk of spread.
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