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Gov. Newsom joins health officials to warn California about spike in case counts ahead of holiday season

Gov. Gavin Newsom stopped by the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center Wednesday morning, Nov. 10, to encourage Southern Californians to get vaccinated as the state prepares for winter and a looming flu season.

Newsom joined Sen. Alex Padilla, Health and Human Services Agency Director Dr. Mark Ghaly, and local health experts to talk last holiday season’s deadly winter surge and address the state’s ongoing efforts to ensure all of California’s communities have equitable access to a coronavirus vaccine.

“Winter is coming. Winter is here,” Newsom said from behind a lectern Wednesday. “Last year, we had a challenging winter — particularly down here in Southern California. We started to see around this time last year case rates, positivity rates, hospitalization rates, ICU numbers start to increase. And you’re starting to see that now all across the globe.”

Fortunately, Newsom and his peers said, California began vaccinating some of the state’s youngest residents last week.

More than 110,000 residents in California aged 5 to 11 had received their first shot as of Wednesday morning, Ghaly said.

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom holds a press conference with CalVet Secretary Vito Imbasciani and Mark Ghaly, secretary of California Health and Human Services as they encourage vaccination during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom takes questions during a press conference to encourage vaccination during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • CalVet Secretary Vito Imbasciani attends a press conference with U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla and Mark Ghaly, secretary of California Health and Human Services to encourage vaccination during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 with Gov. Gavin Newsom. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom takes questions during a press conference to encourage vaccination during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom attends a press conference to encourage vaccination during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom attends a press conference to encourage vaccination during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom holds a press conference with CalVet Secretary Vito Imbasciani as they encourage vaccination during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla attends a press conference with CalVet Secretary Vito Imbasciani and Mark Ghaly, secretary of California Health and Human Services to encourage vaccination during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 with Gov. Gavin Newsom. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom holds a press conference with U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla as they encourage vaccination during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom holds a press conference with U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla and CalVet Secretary Vito Imbasciani as they encourage vaccination during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom holds a press conference with U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla as they encourage vaccination during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom attends a press conference to encourage vaccination during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom takes questions during a press conference to encourage vaccination during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom holds a press conference with U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla, CalVet Secretary Vito Imbasciani and Mark Ghaly, secretary of California Health and Human Services as they encourage vaccination during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom holds a press conference with U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla and CalVet Secretary Vito Imbasciani as they encourage vaccination during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

“I’m really encouraged about what this means for our state,” he said.

The doctor went on to clarify that Californians who work in crowded public settings are allowed to receive a booster shot, according to guidance passed down from the U.S> Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Padilla, meanwhile, joked this is the first time his children have been excited for a shot.

“But my real serious point is,” Padilla said, “it’s not just public health experts, it’s not just the medical professionals — our children know how important these vaccines are for their health and safety.”

So when questions about 46% of Latinos still not being vaccinated arose, Padilla said, “just as with conserving water and energy, a lot of times kids are the ones that teach and motivate the parents.”

Ghaly added some “sobering facts” to persuade those who still remain on the fence.

“Not only are you five times more likely to be infected by COVID if you are unvaccinated, but 20 times more likely to die,” he said. “So with that statistic in mind. I really just want to continue to deliver home the strong point that vaccines are our way through this pandemic.”

Noting 725,000 booster doses were administered in California within the last seven days, Newsom agreed with the sentiment before addressing the increasing coronavirus cases in California.

“We enjoyed the summer where we had the lowest case rates in America for a large portion the summer,” Newsom said. “Just yesterday, we went up to about 16th lowest.

“I say that not to alarm people,” he added, “but to caution folks that it was around this time last year that folks started put down their masks a little bit.”

This year, however, it’s not too late to receive added protection for Thanksgiving gatherings, according to the officials like Newsom, who recognized the public is understandably looking forward to gathering for the holidays.

“I just want to remind people,” Newsom said, “to do it with some common sense.”

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