By Nicole Nixon
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Tuesday to pause transfers and intake at state prisons, two days after an inmate in Los Angeles County tested positive for COVID-19.
The governor said the order will ensure “that we are isolating people — we’re not mixing our prison populations.” New inmates will continue to be housed in county facilities for at least 30 days, though Newsom may extend that period.
As of Tuesday evening, one inmate and seven employees across five correctional facilities had confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
The executive order also requires a shift to video-conferenced parole hearings beginning in mid-April.
In a 20-minute update on Facebook Live, Newsom said he planned to give “a more formal update” on testing and other numbers regarding the virus’ spread on Wednesday.
While President Donald Trump has said he is looking at reopening the country by Easter, Newsom said he is looking at a much longer timeline.
“Early April, I think, that would be misleading to represent, at least for California,” he said. “We clearly, based upon the curve, have a lot more work to do.”
Newsom said “thousands” of Californians are still awaiting their test results for the virus and the number of positive cases would likely continue to climb for some time as more tests are conducted.
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