California Coronavirus Update: Governor Gavin Newsom Addresses Major Data Issues Amid Resignations, New Ethics Complaint About $1B Deal: “I’m Governor, The Buck Stops With Me”

California Governor Gavin Newsom held his first press conference in a week after it was revealed that his administration’s COVID-19 data collection database had been undercounting daily coronavirus case numbers for at least two weeks.

On Sunday, the state’s Director of Public Health resigned. Dr. Sonia Angell was the first Latina ever to hold the role and her resignation came after less than a year on the job. Newsom issued a terse, one-sentence statement thanking Angell.

Newsom was asked repeatedly about the resignation during his news conference. He repeatedly refused to discuss specifics of Angell’s resignation saying finally, “I’m governor, the buck stops with me.”

As Newsom made his remarks, The Sacramento Bee reported that another recent resignation — that CalPERS’ chief investment officer last week — followed an anonymous complaint to the California ethics watchdog agency amid allegations that the CIO had approved a $1 billion deal with a firm in which he’s a shareholder.

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Newsom did not comment about the reported ethics complaint

It was also the first time Newsom has commented on the data issues.

On Friday, California’s Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly held a news conference and admitted that multiple errors on the state’s part had caused a backlog of 250,000-300,000 records in its case data reporting system. That system is used primarily to parse and distribute coronavirus data.

The error caused an undercount in the state’s daily new COVID-19 cases data for the past two weeks, said Ghaly. Hospital counts and deaths were apparently not impacted.

The data disaster is particularly embarrassing for the governor, who is fond of saying “data is foundational” to his coronavirus decisions.

At the news conference on Monday, Ghaly announced Sandra Shewry, who led the Department of Health Services under former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, would be acting public health director. In 2007, the state split the Health Services entity into the Department of Health Care Services and Department of Public Health.

The governor reported 7,751 new coronavirus cases in the state, for a total of TK. Newsom said that number of new cases is “accurate,” and not affected by the backlog.

58.8 percent of those numbers, said Newsom, have “affected the Latino pop

There were 66 new deaths for a total of TK. Newsom cautioned that that number may be low, as it often is on Monday, due to a regular backlog from the weekend. There has been an average of 137 deaths per day over the past 14 days.

The number of people hospitalized has dropped below 6,000, that’s down 19 percent over the past 14 days. There are currently 1,727 coronavirus patients in the ICU. That’s a 13 percent decrease.

The test positivity rate now stands at TK.

Newsom said that, after the data is back recorded to the day to which it properly belongs, the state will provide and update on positivity rate over the period in question.

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