Essential surgeries that were postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic can now be rescheduled, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday.
Surgeries had been delayed or canceled to free up space at hospitals in order to be prepared for a possible surge in COVID-19 cases.
“Fundamentally it’s a health issue and not just the issue of the virus,” Newsom said during his daily briefing Wednesday.
He indicated that essential surgeries include removal of tumors, heart valve replacements or other issues that, if left unattended, could become critical.
These do not include plastic or cosmetic procedures, Newsom stressed.
The governor’s office is working with health directors across the state and the entire health care delivery system to get surgeries rescheduled.
“We will be very thoughtful and judicious about how we do that,” the governor said. “We will not overload the system at peril of not being able to maintain our surge capacity.”
He added that officials will monitor hospitals as restrictions are eased to make sure that a second wave of COVID-19 doesn’t flood hospitals. And if that does become the case, “the dial can be turned back in real time,” Newsom said.
Progress in equipping hospitals and other health care facilities for a possible surge was one of the governor’s six factors to meet before gradually lifting the state’s stay at home-order.
Across the nation, elective surgeries were canceled or postponed due to worries about exposing patients to infection and as hospitals made room for coronavirus patients.
The American Cancer Society even acknowledged that some may have to reschedule routine cancer screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies until the outbreak eases.