SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) California Gov. Gavin Newsom will deliver his third State of the State address from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, the home field of the World Series champions that has been transformed into one of the nation’s largest COVID-19 vaccination sites.
“Dodger Stadium represents California’s spirit of service. Once filled with dedicated fans, it is now filled with dedicated health care providers,” Newsom spokesperson Sahar Robertson said in a statement Monday.
The stadium also provides a more somber reminder of the pandemic: It seats 56,000 people, nearly the number of people who have died from COVID-19 in California.
Newsom’s address Tuesday comes at a crucial time for the Democratic governor, who faces a likely recall election later this year fueled by anger over his handling of the pandemic.
Newsom has been crisscrossing the state in recent weeks, highlighting his administration’s efforts to administer vaccinations while trumpeting the declining numbers of new coronavirus cases in the nation’s most populous state.
Speaking Monday at a vaccination site in the small Central Valley community of Earlimart, Newsom said not to expect lots of policy announcements during his speech, scheduled for 6 p.m.
“I want to highlight this heroic work that’s being done every single day with people that aren’t getting attention or being celebrated but are the quiet heroes in this pandemic,” Newsom said. “It’s a different kind of State of the State.”
In recent weeks, Newsom and the Democratic-controlled state Legislature teamed up to approve a $7.6 billion stimulus package and $6.6 billion in funding aimed at convincing public school districts to return students to classrooms.
Newsom also has loosened some coronavirus restrictions, allowing indoor youth sports with testing, announcing a limited number of fans can attend Major League Baseball games and saying theme parks like Disneyland can reopen on April 1 with limited capacity.
But the state is still struggling to vaccinate people. The Los Angeles Times reported that none of California’s 58 counties have signed on to the state’s centralized vaccination program being run by insurance giant Blue Shield. That has complicated the vaccine rollout.
Newsom said more than 200,000 education workers have been vaccinated since March 1, when the state began setting aside 10% of its supply for teachers. And he said the state is likely to loosen coronavirus restrictions for a dozen more counties on Tuesday.
“We are very close to turning the proverbial page” on the pandemic, the governor said.