ICU admissions up 49% before 4th of July

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As California heads into Fourth of July weekend, the state’s positive case rate is up 37%, hospitalizations 56% and intensive care admissions 49% compared to two weeks ago, with the ICU numbers in particular “a point of real concern,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

Monterey County was added to the state’s 19-county watch list Thursday and Contra Costa removed. San Diego will be added today.

The governor also unveiled Thursday a multimillion-dollar public awareness campaign encouraging Californians to wear masks, including short videos in English and Spanish — suggesting that education is ultimately more effective than enforcement.

  • Newsom: “If 40 million people want to turn their back on civil society and abuse the rules and laws and regulations … then society begins to erode. Accordingly, the health of a community begins to be diminished. … It requires some level of personal responsibility.”

Nevertheless, Newsom said the state sent a letter Thursday to all California employers reinforcing his mask order and other public health directives. He added that 13 of the 19 counties he ordered Wednesday to close bars and the indoor portions of restaurants, movie theaters and other businesses have complied so far, with the remaining six expected to follow shortly.

Some counties also canceled fireworks shows and closed beaches or beach parking lots for the holiday weekend. 

Many of you reached out to me this past week wondering why Newsom is telling Californians they can’t gather with people outside their household for Fourth of July despite allowing massive protests that brought thousands of people together.

The governor weighed in on Thursday.

  • Newsom: “Just because someone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you should. People know what the right thing to do is. … People also understand that we have a Constitution, we have the right of free speech. We are all dealing with a moment in our nation’s history that is profound and pronounced. … I recognize the dichotomy … between those examples. All I can offer is this consideration: Do what you think is best, not only for you, but for the health of those you love.”

The coronavirus bottom line: As of 9 p.m. Thursday night, California had 240,195 confirmed coronavirus cases and 6,163 deaths from the virus, according to a CalMatters tracker.

Also: CalMatters regularly updates this pandemic timeline tracking the state’s daily actions. And we’re tracking the state’s coronavirus hospitalizations by county.

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