California Resumes Elective Surgeries, Newsom Warns of Slow Reopening

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Posted: Apr 23, 2020 7:30 AM
California Resumes Elective Surgeries, Newsom Warns of Slow Reopening

Source: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Erwin Jacob Miciano

After California hospitals did not experience the surge in coronavirus patients that public health experts had expected, Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom is now allowing hospitals to perform elective surgeries. 

In the first significant easing of the shelter-in-place order, Gov. Newsom said doctors can begin performing non-emergency surgeries effective immediately. The state banned elective surgeries to make room for an expected surge in hospitalizations that never materialized. While hospitals can begin performing elective surgeries immediately, they still cannot perform purely cosmetic procedures such as plastic surgery. 

"That’s the first significant effort to begin modifying that stay at home order," Newsom said on Wednesday. 

The governor is otherwise warning residents in the Golden State to expect a slow opening as the statewide shelter-in-place order rolls into its second month. The governor outlined six indicators he said will determine how quickly the state begins to relax restrictions originally put in place to flatten the curve.

As of this writing, California has 1,437 reported deaths attributed to the coronavirus. Over half of the reported deaths occurred in Los Angeles County, home to a quarter of the state's population. With an estimated population of nearly 40 million people, California has so far reported 37,700 coronavirus cases, but the number of confirmed cases is expected to rise as more tests are administered. The number of hospitalizations and ICU admissions in the state appears to have stabilized, and the focus is now turning to reopening California without triggering a severe outbreak. 

Most people infected with the coronavirus will experience mild or moderate symptoms, such as a cough or a fever, and symptoms typically clear up in two or three weeks. But for some, like those with preexisting health problems or older adults, the coronavirus may result in more severe symptoms, such as pneumonia or even death.

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