California confirmed its first positive COVID-19 case on January 26, 2020 and declared a state of emergency on March 4, 2020. In what was considered a bold directive at the time, in mid-March Governor Gavin Newsome issued a statewide order asking 39.5 million people to stay at home indefinitely.
Throughout the summer of 2020, recommendations were made to open with restrictions or remain closed based on the business type, county, and rates of positive cases reported. After a steady rise since the first report, positive COVID-19 cases peaked in August and then began to decline through October 2020. While hospitals had reported a PPE shortage initially, the state was able to flatten the curve enough that additional healthcare resources like additional hospitals and ventilators were not considered critical needs.
In December 2020, along with the rest of the country, California experienced a sharp increase in positive cases, with new lockdowns in place for 85% of the state’s residents through the holiday season. ICUs across the state had dropped to below 15% available capacity, and physicians were concerned about the healthcare system’s ability to handle the explosion of patients.
A year later in December 2021, the California Department of Public Health reported 4,845,295 confirmed cumulative cases, the highest number in the US. In addition, the state saw 74,209 deaths, the highest count of deaths related to COVID-19. As of June 15, 2021, California reportedly administered 40,669,793 COVID-19 vaccine doses, the largest number of doses nationwide. However, the slow initial rollout triggered a wide-scale effort to recall Governor Gavin Newsom in 2021.
To be able to respond confidently to the changing needs of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, California doctors are encouraged to have a comprehensive policy in place from a top-rated medical malpractice insurance carrier.