Continuing his state tour of vaccination sites, Gov. Gavin Newsom gave his COVID-19 briefing Wednesday in Southern California’s Coachella Valley.
The data for various coronavirus indicators is moving in the right direction, but Newsom said the state is falling short on the numbers when it comes to equity.
"Frankly, we haven't done enough," Newsom said, standing in front of boxes of fruit at the SeaView Packing company, where a vaccination clinic is being held. "We have to own that. We have to recognize that we haven't delivered on equity like we should, like we must."
Congressman Raul Ruiz, D-Palm Desert, agreed.
"We should no longer act surprised when there are disparities in equity — disparities for those that are at highest risk of getting infected and dying," said the former emergency room physician, whose parents were farmworkers. "And yet they have the highest risk of not getting the vaccines."
The state is now vaccinating people in Phase 1B of its schedule, which includes farmworkers like the ones in Coachella Valley. Newsom said the real constraint in getting people their shots is a lack of supply.
Overall, California's COVID-19 numbers continue to improve. The 14-day rolling average of 9,634 new cases is down to pre-Thanksgiving levels, and the state's two-week positivity rate from coronavirus tests is 4.1%, a dramatic decrease from 12.2% a month ago.
Hospitalized COVID-19 patient numbers are also decreasing, more ICU beds are available and deaths are down.
More than 6.4 million vaccine doses have been administered.
On Monday, Newsom said the positive news meant more counties will soon be allowed to reopen businesses for indoor services like dining. By next week, a “substantial” number of counties are likely to enter the “red” tier, which allows indoor dining at 25% capacity and other indoor spaces such as movie theaters, museums and gyms to open with limits, he said.
A half dozen rural counties in Northern California and along the Sierra Nevada are already in the red or orange tier. State data indicates at least five small counties are moving toward the red tier.
For more on Newsom's visit to Coachella Valley, see the Desert Sun.