As California surpassed 200,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered one of the hardest-hit counties to reimplement its stay-at-home order.
Imperial County, which borders Mexico to the south and Arizona to the east, has never met the state’s qualifications to reopen additional businesses like most other counties.
Newsom said he has advised the county’s health officer and board of supervisors to reinstate a stricter stay-at-home order to help stem the growing number of cases and hospitalizations.
But after an emergency session Friday afternoon, county supervisors declined to take any action. Instead, they urged residents to follow the stay-at-home order currently in place.
“Over the next few days, we will be working with representatives from the governor’s office and seeing what the best path going forward will be,” Supervisor Luis Plancarte said.
“With the governor’s approval, the county slowly allowed some additional access to retail stores and religious services, provided that they adhere to achieving key safety standards,” he said of the current order.
Still, the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly in the area, with a per-capita infection rate nearly seven times the state average. Over the past five weeks, Newsom said hundreds of COVID-19 patients have been transferred to hospitals in other areas to “decompress” the county’s hospital system.
Newsom said he has advised the county’s health officer and board of supervisors to reinstate a local stay-at home order.
“If they are not able to come to some consensus, I am committed to intervening as is my role and responsibility as governor,” he said.
The announcement marks the first time since the state began allowing businesses to reopen that Newsom followed through on his promise to “toggle back” if cases begin to surge.
At the same time, the governor has put closures of bars and other sectors in other counties squarely in the court of local officials, citing San Francisco as an example.
The city announced Friday it was pausing planned reopenings of businesses such as hair salons that had been slated for Monday, Mayor London Breed announced.
Our reopening process is guided by data and science.— London Breed (@LondonBreed) June 26, 2020
COVID-19 cases are rising throughout CA. We're now seeing a rise in cases in SF too. Our numbers are still low but rising rapidly.
As a result, we're temporarily delaying the re-openings that were scheduled for Monday.
“What San Francisco did is exactly what the system was designed to do — that is to empower local health officers based upon the conditions in their community,” Newsom said.
Statewide on Friday, California reported a 3.3% increase in coronavirus hospitalizations over the day before.The number of ICU patients also climbed 4.4% in one day. The state has surpassed 200,000 total positive cases while the statewide positivity rate has grown to a 14-day average of 5.3%, up from 4.6% two weeks ago.
The governor called the upward trends “disturbing” and once again pleaded with Californians to wear face masks in public.
“I don’t know what more we can do to impress upon people [that] we don’t lightly put forward a mandate to wear face coverings unless we think it will not only protect you but protect others and mitigate the spread of a deadly disease,” he said.
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