By Aldon Thomas Stiles, California Black Media
On Aug. 31, California Gov. Gavin Newsom held a press conference at a vaccination clinic in Oakland to thank the majority of Californians for receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
He also urged more Californians to get vaccinated for COVID-19, as he echoed the advice of health experts across the United States that getting the shot is the best way out of this pandemic.
“Thank you to the people of the state of California for being mindful that this pandemic is not behind us, that as we battle this delta variant, this mutation, which now represents 98% of the genomic tests that we are conducting, that we still have work to do,” Newsom said, announcing that 80% of eligible Californians have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“So, I want to encourage everyone in that spirit but with gratitude in my heart, gratitude to all of you that have done the right thing, got that first dose, and I would remind you to take that second dose which is critical,” Newsom said.
The governor’s office also issued a warning the same day via Twitter.
“Now, we’re in a pandemic of the unvaccinated as they fill up hospitals & ICUs. Vaccines are how we end this pandemic,” a part of that tweet reads.
Approximately 68.4% of California’s total population (counting those that are ineligible for vaccines) has received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine while about 55.4% of the state’s total population are fully vaccinated.
Those numbers increase with age, with 81.9% of Californians 18 years old or above receiving at least one dose of the vaccine and over 66% of those in the same age range being fully vaccinated, according to the California Health and Human Services Agency’s data.
Newsom spoke optimistically assessing the pandemic’s current impact on California’s health care systems.
“We’re seeing a plateauing in hospitalizations, we’re seeing a modest increase now, not a large increase, in ICUs and we have seen that positivity rate drop from 7.1%. Just a few weeks ago now down to 4.6%. It’s a long-winded way of saying this: thank you,” Newsom said.
Newsom also mentioned the possibility of booster shot access and who might need one.
“And to those that need to avail themselves, the immuno-compromised, to that booster shot, know that California is setting up the protocols and processes to make that as seamless as possible with more sites available to individuals than in any other time in the history of this pandemic,” he said.
In his official column “On the Record”, Newsom reiterated how important it is that Californians remember that we aren’t quite out of the woods yet.
So far in California, there have been 4.51 million COVID-19 cases and 66,388 deaths related to the deadly virus. Los Angeles County accounts for more than a quarter of those fatalities with 25, 434 deaths.
Yesterday, there were 9,727 new cases in the state.
“This situation is very real. California is at a critical point with the Delta variant. It is extremely contagious – over 60 percent more transmissible than the original COVID-19 strain – and has become the dominant strain circulating in the state. The risk for exposure and infection from COVID-19 and its variants will remain until more people get vaccinated,” the governor wrote.
California Black Media’s coverage of COVID-19 is supported by the California Health Care Foundation.