California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday said his administration has been providing data on COVID-19 cases in public schools “on a regular basis,” but the state’s health department has not released new case data for schools since mid-January.
The Democratic governor’s comments came during a press conference, where he announced an agreement had been reached with state lawmakers to set aside $2 billion for schools that return to optional in-person instruction by March 31.
A reporter from the Los Angeles Times pointed out that the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued two directives in mid-January requiring schools to report to the agency any COVID-19 positive cases. As of March 1, updated data has not been posted online.
“We have been providing that data on an updated basis,” Newsom said, adding that the $2 billion deal sets aside money for better enforcement, oversight, and data collection requirements.
The reporter reiterated his point that updated data on COVID-19 cases at schools has not been released. The governor said the new deal changes the framework of how data is collected and reported to the CDPH.
“As it relates to November, December and January, those numbers are put up,” Newsom said.
The CDPH told Fox News that “information on outbreaks is reported to local health departments by employers and to CDPH by local health departments.”
The department confirmed that between Jan. 1, 2021 and Feb. 1, 2021, there were 87 school outbreaks reported in California. That included 42 in primary schools, 33 in secondary schools, and 12 in colleges.
The department did not provide data for the month of February.
Fox News has reached out to Newsom’s press secretary with a request for comment.
Monday’s announcement comes as Newsom faces the likely prospect of a recall election, brought on by discontent over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. As of Monday, Recall Gavin 2020, the main committee behind the campaign, say they have collected around 1.825 million signatures.
That number is well above the threshold needed to qualify for a ballot, but the group plans to collect upwards of 2 million ahead of the March 17 deadline to compensate for invalidated signatures.