SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that he was lifting the restrictions placed upon hospitals that had put on hold all scheduled surgical procedures in anticipation of a massive wave of COVID-19 patients overwhelming the state’s health care system.

Newsom made what he called a significant medical announcement while updating Californians on the progress toward easing restrictions put into place last month at the height of the coronavirus outbreak.

As for a much larger announcement, it did not come.

“You will be left wanting if you woke up to this discussion and were going to hear we are going to be reopening large sectors of our society, we are not prepared to do that today,” he said.

But the surgery announcement was a welcomed relief for cash-strapped care providers who have furlough operating rooms staff as the need for their services in all but emergency cases had disappeared.

“We have been working with our partners in Washington state and Oregon, guided by their experts and guided by their examples and helping us to inform our own efforts in the state of California,” Newsom said. “Based upon…the work that we have done together in providing alternative care sites. The incredible work that the hospital have done to decompress their existing facilities and provide capacity to increase surge and the incredible workforce that has been assembled.”

“We are in a position today to begin to pull back and lean in by beginning to schedule surgeries once again throughout not only our hospital system but our broader health care delivery system.”

“These are surgeries that are not only scheduled, but essential,” he continued. “Tumors, heart valves the need for people to get the kind of care that they desire. If it’s delayed, it ultimately becomes denied. If it’s delayed it can become acute.”

Newsom said his team would be contacting health care systems throughout the state to let them know they once again have a green light to schedule operations.

“We will be thoughtful and judicious on how we do that (restart the surgery units), we will no overload the system,” he said.

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