• By The Financial District


Gov. Gavin Newsom expressed cautious optimism about COVID-19 trends in California on Monday but said that the Central Valley remains the main area of concern in the state, according to a report from KCRA 3 News.

California has seen a 10% decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the past 14 days and a 5% decrease in ICU admissions over the same period, Newsom said during a news conference. The governor noted, however, that the statewide numbers "don't reflect the reality" in the Central Valley.

"If you asked me today what our biggest area of concern (is) in a state as large as ours, it is indeed the Central Valley," he said.

Last week, Newsom announced that eight Central Valley counties would split $52 million in extra funding to help the area battle COVID-19. Some of the eight Central Valley counties were seeing COVID-19 positivity rates as high as 17%. Statewide, the average positivity rate for the past 14 days is 7%. An additional $5.6 million from philanthropy is being sent to the area, according to Newsom.

There were more than 512,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in California as of mid-morning Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University. At least 9,400 people have died from coronavirus-related complications in the state.

Newsom said that the decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations and patients in the ICU is encouraging, but that California "can quickly find ourselves back to where we were just a few weeks ago, a month ago, with significant increases, if we do not maintain our vigilance, if we do not maintain our focus and our commitment."

Monday marked the first day of school for some California students, including those in Stockton and Elk Grove. Many districts have pivoted to distance learning in lieu of in-person instruction as the state continues to grapple with the coronavirus crisis.

Schools that are located in counties on the state's COVID-19 watchlist are having to begin the school year with distance learning. As of Monday, 38 counties were on the monitoring list. Those counties comprise the majority of California's population.