A roundup of the biggest news stories in California this week, including a coronavirus update and the latest from Sacramento….
State Updates Blueprint to Allow Additional Activities with Modifications to Reduce Risk
Updates to gatherings, receptions, conferences, and indoor live events and performances are effective April 15
With vaccination rates increasing and the state’s COVID-19 test positivity rate near a record low, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today released updates to the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy reopening framework allowing additional activities to resume with modifications to reduce risk. The updates include gatherings, private events or meetings such as receptions or conferences, and indoor seated live events and performances. These updates take effect April 15. California’s framework for loosening and tightening restrictions is governed by the level of COVID-19 spread.
“Today’s update to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy is a result of the progress we are making both in vaccinations and in controlling the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency. “By following public health guidelines such as wearing masks and getting vaccinated when eligible, we can resume additional activities as we take steps to reduce risk.”
Updates to the Blueprint include:
Gatherings beginning April 15: In the Red Tier, outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people are allowed. The gathering size increases to 50 people in the Orange Tier and 100 people in the Yellow Tier. In the Purple Tier, only outdoor gatherings are allowed, and they are limited to three households. Indoor gatherings are strongly discouraged in all tiers but are allowed with modifications and capacity limits in the Red, Orange and Yellow tiers.
Private events or meetings such as receptions or conferences beginning April 15: In all tiers, modifications are required to reduce risk. This includes pre-purchased tickets or a defined guest list and assigned seating.
In the Purple Tier, these activities are only allowed outdoors and capacity is limited to 25 people. If all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination, capacity increases to up to 100 people.
In the Red Tier, outdoor gatherings are limited to 50 people, and capacity increases to 200 if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination. In this tier, indoor activities are allowed if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination; capacity is limited to 100 people.
In the Orange Tier, outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 people, and capacity increases to 300 if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination. In this tier, indoor activities are allowed if all guests are tested or show full proof of vaccination; capacity is limited to 150 people.
In the Yellow Tier, outdoor gatherings are limited to 200 people, and capacity increases to 400 if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination. In this tier, indoor activities are allowed if all guests are tested or show full proof of vaccination; capacity is limited to 200 people.
Indoor live events or performances beginning April 15: In the Purple Tier these activities are not allowed. In the Red, Orange and Yellow tiers these activities are allowed with capacity limits and modifications including physical distancing, advance ticket purchases, designated areas for eating and drinking, and attendance limited to in-state visitors.
Venues with a capacity of up to 1,500 people: In the Red Tier capacity is limited to 10% or 100 people, and capacity increases to 25% if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination. In the Orange Tier, capacity is limited to 15% or 200 people, and capacity increases to 35% if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination. In the Yellow Tier capacity in limited to 25% or 300 people, and capacity increases to 50% if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination.
Venues with a capacity of 1,501 and above: In the Red Tier testing or proof of vaccination is required, and capacity is limited to 20%. In the Orange Tier capacity is limited to 10% or 2,000 people, and capacity increases to 35% if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination. In the Yellow Tier capacity is limited to 10% or 2,000 people, and capacity increases to 50% if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination.
California will continue to update the Blueprint periodically based on science and vaccination progress. View the updated sector chart to see which activities and businesses are allowed in each tier.
Local public health departments may implement policies that are more restrictive than the state and should be consulted to confirm if there are any local stricter variations.
For more information on the state’s response to COVID-19 visit www.covid19.ca.gov.
Suspect Charged in Orange County Mass Shooting
A mass shooting at an office park in Orange on Wednesday left four dead including a 9-year-old boy. Today, prosecutors announced a suspect, 44-year-old Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez, has been charged with murder. Gonzalez faces four felony counts of murder, one felony count of attempted murder and two felony counts of attempted murder of a police officer.
During Wednesday’s shooting, officers arrived on the scene within minutes of receiving 911 calls. The suspect fired at officers, two of whom fired back from behind a fence. The suspect had locked the gates to the building using bicycle-type locks, which officers were able to remove with bolt cutters.
Police report that Gonzalez knew all of the victims. The lone survivor, believed to be the mother of the boy killed in the shooting, remains hospitalized in critical condition. (Source: ABC7.com)
Vaccine Eligibility Expanded to Californians 50+
All Californians aged 50 and over are eligible to be vaccinated against Covid-19 as of yesterday.
“Getting vaccinated is a vital step we can take to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our community, and brings us that much closer to ending this pandemic,” said Governor Newsom. “I am proud to receive the vaccine today as we open eligibility to more Californians while keeping our focus on making sure those in our hardest-hit communities are able to easily access this life-saving vaccine. While supplies are currently limited, our statewide network of providers is ready to meet the growing demand and we look forward to vaccine allocations dramatically increasing in the months ahead.”
Come April 15, all Californians 16 and older will be eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Even with expanded vaccine supplies and eligibility, individuals may need to wait for an appointment. Most eligible residents can use My Turn to find and schedule available appointments, either by visiting MyTurn.ca.gov (now available in 12 languages) or calling 1-833-422-4255 (assistance available in 250+ languages).
The state expects to be allocated 2.4 million doses next week, an increase of 300,000 over this week, and more than 3 million doses per week in the second half of April. These are projections and may be changed by the federal government. About 7.2 million Californians are 50-64 years old, with a total of 2.8 million people in this group having received at least one dose. Of these, 1.2 million people are fully vaccinated.
Governor Announces Surge in Firefighting Support Ahead of Peak Fire Season
Following last year’s record-breaking fire season, Governor Gavin Newsom this week announced emergency early action to boost firefighting support as California faces another difficult wildfire year. Using Emergency Fund authorization, Governor Newsom has approved $80.74 million for 1,399 additional firefighters with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) to bolster fuels management and wildfire response efforts. The Governor’s January 2021 budget proposes $1 billion to support wildfire and forest management.
With much of the state experiencing persistent drought conditions, low reservoir storage and below average snowpack, California is planning for another dry year. Meanwhile, scattered light precipitation has assisted in new growth in annual grasses that will serve as fuel for wildfires.
This Emergency Fund authorization includes a surge of 1,256 seasonal firefighters for maximum flexibility through June 30, 2021. This funding will provide fire crew and fire engine staffing, augments eight currently understaffed existing fire crews ahead of the summer, and allows the early hiring and training of fire crews for fuels management to provide twelve new CAL FIRE crews, and six seasonal and six new permanent Conservation Corps crews.
Further, the state will onboard 24 seasonal firefighters for California National Guard hand crews who support CAL FIRE’s fuels management work.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced the most recent statistics on Covid-19 in the state today. The numbers continue to improve. California has 3,573,074 confirmed cases of to date, which includes 2,414 , newly recorded cases on Thursday. The seven-day positivity rate is 1.8%. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 58,269 Californians have died due to Covid-19.
As of April 2, providers have reported administering a total of 18,862,091 vaccine doses statewide. The CDC reports that 24,073,790 doses have been delivered to entities within the state.
Three counties remain in the purple (widespread tier): Inyo, Merced and San Joaquin. Thirty-six counties are in the red (substantial) tier, 18 are in the orange (moderate) tier, and two (Alpine and Sierra) are in the yellow (minimal) tier. Blueprint tiers are updated weekly on Tuesdays.
Remember to sign up at myturn.ca.gov for a notification when you’re eligible for a vaccine.