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California to Begin Scheduling Essential Surgeries Again

The governor also announced the opening of 86 new testing sites and a goal of 60,000-80,000 tests to be conducted a day in the near future

California will begin to schedule essential surgeries once again in the state’s first step toward relaxing its “stay at home” order, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday.

“We will be very thoughtful and judicious about how we do that. We will not overload the system,” Newsom said of the surgeries, which include for patients who need to have tumors removed or heart valves repaired. Traditional cosmetic surgeries for “aesthetic purposes” are not allowed to resume, Newsom added.

Over 465,000 coronavirus tests have been conducted, as of Wednesday. Newsom announced that 86 new testing sites in “testing deserts” would be opened to help increase the state’s testing capacity for its underserved communities, and that his goal is for 25,000 tests a day to be conducted by the end of April and 60,000-80,000 a day in the near future.

The governor also said that Trump committed to sending 100,000 testing swabs to California this week, with another 250,000 to arrive next week. Meanwhile, the state has organized with laboratories to be able to conduct 1.5 million serological tests for Californians, Newsom said.

But for those hoping for a reopening of California’s businesses, Newsom reiterated that the state is not yet prepared to do so.

“No one wants to be able to share that information more with you than I do, and I wish I could prescribe a specific date,” Newsom said. “We have tried to make it crystal clear that there is no light switch and there is no date in terms of our capacity [to reopen large sectors of society].”

Last week, California officials announced six requirements that they would need to succeed in before the “stay at home” order could be gradually lifted. The requirements include California’s capacity to expand testing and track infected or exposed individuals; the ability to protect the state’s most vulnerable populations; the ability of the hospitals and health systems to handle surges; the development of therapeutics to meet demand; the ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing; and the ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the “stay at home” order.

The Trump administration also released a three-phase set of guidelines for states looking to reopen their economies — guidelines that include the reopening of movie theaters and sports venues.