S. E. WilliamsContributor

On Tuesday, April 14, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom encouraged Californians to prepare for a new normal during his daily press briefing as he laid out a guide for when and how the state will modify its current stay-at-home order during the dangerous coronavirus pandemic.

Although the plan centers around six key indicators, any consideration of modifying the current stay-at-home order, Newsom highlighted, must be done using a gradual, science-based and data-driven framework according to state officials.

The governor pointed to success in flattening the COVID-19 curve in the state in addition to increased preparedness of health care delivery systems and other COVID-19 interventions as having yielded positive results; yet he also noted the impact such actions have had in other areas ranging from the economy to the overall healthcare system.

“While Californians have stepped up in a big way to flatten the curve and buy us time to prepare to fight the virus,” Newsom commented, “[A]t some point in the future we will need to modify our stay-at-home order,” said Governor Newsom. “As we contemplate reopening parts of our state, we must be guided by science and data, and we must understand that things will look different than before.”

While health officials consider the issue of building immunity among California residents, Newsom determined further actions will be focused on ensuring the state’s ability to care for the sick within its hospitals; preventing infection in people who are at high risk for severe disease; building the capacity to protect the health and well-being of the public; and working to reduce social, emotional and economic disruptions.

Among the six indicators identified by Newsom as essential, to achieve for modifying the stay-at-home order, are the ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed; the ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19; the ability of the hospital and health systems to handle surges; the ability to develop therapeutics to meet the 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 orders, if necessary.

As Californians look to the future, a statement from the governor’s office pointed out how things will look different when the state begins to reopen. Such changes may include fewer tables in restaurants, the reconfiguration of classrooms, etc.

Additional details regarding the roadmap and easing of the stay-at-home order will be available over time. Until then, “Everyone in California is required to stay home except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care, or go to an essential job. If you go out, stay at least six feet away from other people and wear a face covering,” according to the governor’s Executive Order issued Thursday, March 19, 2020 which remains in place until further notice.

For more information on California’s response, visit covid19.ca.gov.